County to apply for Grants to help Develop Solid Waste Transfer/Recycling Operation

October 15, 2013
by: 
Dwayne Page
Garbage Truck Pulls up to Cumberland Waste Disposal
Truck Dumps Garbage at Transfer Station, Backhoe loads it on Semi-truck
Truck Dumps Garbage at Transfer Station, Backhoe loads it on Semi-truck
Garbage truck leaving transfer station. Top of Courthouse Clock can be seen
Cumberland Recycling Center Baler
Baled Paper
Baled Cardboard
Baled Aluminum Cans
Tire Collection Bin
Pulverizer for Crushing Glass Bottles
Ground up Glass for Recycling
More Crushed Glass for Recycling
Collection Station for Residents to Bring in Recyclables

The DeKalb County Commission has taken another step toward developing a solid waste transfer station and recycling center.

During its regular monthly meeting Tuesday night, the commission adopted resolutions authorizing the filing of applications to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation for a Hub and Spoke Recycling Grant in an amount up to $300,000; a Recycling Equipment Grant up to $25,000 for an automatic baler; and two Used Oil Grants worth up to $16,300 each. Amanda Mainord of Grassroots Planning & Consulting will be the grant administrator for the project.

In order to beat the Monday, October 21 grant filing deadline, the county commission moved its regular meeting date up from Monday, October 28 to Tuesday night, October 15 to take this action.

According to County Mayor Mike Foster, the cost to the county of developing a solid waste transfer station and recycling center, closing the existing Class I landfill, and starting a new Class III/IV landfill cell for non-household garbage, is estimated to be about $2.4 million. These grants, if approved, would help absorb some of the costs. "We're filing a grant for $300,000 toward the cost of a transfer recycling center. Our costs would be about $700,000. We're filing a grant for $25,000 toward the cost of a baler for the recycling/transfer station. Our costs comes to around $85,000. We're also filing grants for two sites for $16,300 each for waste oil. We feel those two grants will be fully funded," said Foster.

Although the county has enough money to cover the anticipated costs of the entire project, Foster said the county's financial advisor Steve Bates has recommended another funding option in case of cost overruns. "Funds for the county's part are there (in the solid waste budget)," said Foster. "We have saved it up over the last ten years in the solid waste fund. But in case the costs run more than we're thinking they will or in case we don't want to spend down all of our cash we could either do a bond or note up to $1.5 million. I don't think that will happen. I think our estimates are high, according to our engineer. So I think we're okay. But in order to apply for the grant, we need to be certain everything is right," he continued.

Foster said while developing a transfer station is costly, it is not as expensive as building another new Class I landfill. "We have two options. We can either build another Class I cell at a cost of about $4.5 million which would last five years. Or we could build the transfer station for about $900,000 to last from now on," he said.

While county officials would like to build the transfer station/recycling center behind Tenneco in the Smithville Industrial Park on Highway 70 east, the city's industrial development board has not yet given its approval. If the industrial board does not approve, the county would most likely find another location and build the transfer station/recycling center anyway.

The proposed transfer station/recycling center would be similar to Cumberland Waste Disposal in Crossville. But unlike Cumberland, where the transfer station is at one location and the recycling center is at another, the DeKalb County transfer/recycling operation would be at the same location. WJLE accompanied Foster to Crossville Tuesday to see the Cumberland Waste Disposal and Recycling operation first hand. (PHOTOS OF THE CUMBERLAND COUNTY OPERATION ARE SHOWN HERE)

"Ours would be combined at one site," said Foster. "We would put cans at each one of the (major convenience) sites. People could bring cardboard, plastic, and paper and separate them (at the convenience sites). We would then bring the recyclables to the recycling center to be baled. Our transfer station would be almost identical to the one in Crossville. It's about a 50' x 80' building which is open on one side. The garbage is brought in by trucks and dumped. It is then immediately loaded on a semi truck with a backhoe. It doesn't take five minutes to do it. The semi truck is prepared with a net pulled over it to keep things from blowing out and then its hauled to a site in another county," said Foster.

The Cumberland transfer station is located downtown Crossville within sight of the Cumberland County Courthouse. Homes, churches, and businesses are also close by.

With a baler, Foster said DeKalb County could recycle cardboard, plastics, paper, and aluminum cans. Other scrap metals might also be accepted for recycling. The county already accepts used oil at some of the convenience sites and is preparing to take used anti-freeze. Over time, Foster said an active recycling program could be profitable for DeKalb County. "Cumberland County has brought in approximately $500,000 in revenue from recyclables. That's a major amount of money. DeKalb County is much smaller but we might could bring in a third of that. We might be looking at $150,000 to $200,000," said Foster.

If the application for the Hub and Spoke Recycling Grant is approved, the county would serve as a Recycling Hub for other cities and counties in the area who want to bring in their recyclables . "Cannon County is doing a sponsor letter. DeKalb County is. Smithville is. We hope Liberty, Dowelltown, and Alexandria will. It (local recycling center) would be a Hub for this area. It could also be a Hub for parts of White County. They could bring in their recyclables here. I know Cannon County officials have said they would especially like to have help with plastics. They could bring their plastics here and we would bale it for them and we would get the money out of it. But anybody from other counties could bring in recyclables. Not garbage. Just recyclables. We would bale them and get paid for them" said Foster.

If DeKalb County develops a transfer station/recycling center, it will have to contract with another county to accept the local household garbage.

The county may know from TDEC by December whether its grant applications will be funded.

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