|Written by Mark Lineberger|
|Monday, 26 December 2011 00:00|
Waste Management, a leading national waste hauler, told the Yavapai County Board of Supervisors on Dec. 6 it needs to make more money from its operation of Grey Wolf Regional Landfill.
Currently, Waste Man-agement hauls about 200 tons of waste to its landfill in Dewey-Humboldt at $38.50 a ton, Yavapai County District 3 Supervisor Chip Davis said.
More waste and more revenue is necessary to keep its landfill “viable,” Waste Management lawyer Mike Withey told the board.
Supervisors voted 2-1 to allow the practice. Yavapai County District 1 Supervisor Carol Springer and District 2 Supervisor Tom Thurman voted in favor. Davis voted against.
Thurman said during public discussion of the amendment he met privately with Waste Management representatives prior to voting in favor of the expanded use permit.
The vote gives the company permission to dump more trash trucked from counties other than Yavapai and to expand the size of the landfill by 10 percent to accommodate the added waste.
Waste Management also won permission to add a nature education center, expand the solar power station, add a recycling and waste reduction area, add two evaporation ponds for non-hazardous liquid waste, and build an access road around the property.
The expanded area will be set aside to separate recyclables such as newsprint, old corrugated containers, mixed paper, plastics and metals.
Recyclables gathered in this area will be packaged and trucked to the Waste Management’s Material Recovery Plant in Surprise, which will also help increase the company’s revenue from the site.
Davis objected to the move because expanding the company’s use permit is counter to the intentions of county residents when the board allowed it to expand in 2006.
At that time, the company’s use permit and a general plan amendment was approved to expand the landfill operation from 160 to 425 acres, with 285 acres to be developed and 140 acres to remain undeveloped.
The expansion included 265 acres acquired from the Prescott National Forest. The expansion increased the life expectancy of the landfill by 40 to 50 years, according to county records.
As people and businesses become more environmentally conscious, less waste is coming from county residents. That means less waste for Waste Management to haul, Davis said after the meeting.
Davis questioned the wisdom of hauling more trash from outside the county to make up the difference, considering the intent of the last amendment to the company’s use permit was to extend Grey Wolf’s life. More trash would tend to shorten its life, he said.
He also questioned why it was Yavapai County’s responsibility to prop up Waste Management’s profits just because it is facing tough competition from local haulers that are undercutting Waste Management’s price for services
Davis said he was skeptical the company would be able to track the amount of trash it hauls to ensure the expansion does not exceed the 10 percent increase allowed by the amendment.
Asking Waste Management to regulate itself in this way was like asking “the fox to guarding the chicken house,” Davis said.
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