CHAPEL HILL – The Town Council will consider a proposal tonight to ship its solid waste to Waste Industries’ transfer station in Durham.
The move is in response to a decision by the Orange County Board of Commissioners to close its landfill in June.
Under the proposal, the town would in April begin sending some of its solid waste to the Waste Industries transfer station at 210 Stone Park Ct., near the Durham Freeway and Ellis Road exit, and begin hauling all of its solid waste there on July 1.
Putting the plan into action is expected to cost about $358,600 in additional personnel and operational expenses.
Town officials said the extra money is available in the town’s fund balance, or rainy day account.
If council approves the deal, the town would enter into a three-year contract with Waste Industries for use of its transfer station. It would also have a couple of one-year extension options.
The town would pay Waste Industries $41 a ton to handle the more than 14,500 tons of solid waste generated by Chapel Hill residents each year.
Waste Industries ships garbage from its Durham transfer station to a landfill in Sampson County.
In addition, the town would replace four of it collections trucks, two of which were already budgeted, with larger trucks to improve efficiency and safety.
The town will purchase the trucks through its Vehicle Replacement Fund using lease financing. The total cost of the lease purchase is $860,000 of which $286,150 has already been budgeted, leaving a total principal amount of $573,850.
One of the trucks would be powered by compressed natural gas, which officials say would save $50,000 in fuel costs of the life of the vehicle and leave a 3.8 percent smaller carbon footprint than biodiesel and produce 60 percent to 90 percent less smog producing pollutants than diesel options.
The move by the town to ship its waste to Durham is a temporary one that will give the council time to consider building its own transfer station, possibly at a proposed site on Millhouse Road.
“It is just the beginning,” said Lance Norris, director of the Public Works Department. “Solid waste disposal is important to Chapel Hill and Orange County, so there has to be an open discussion and process.”
Virginia-based SCS Engineers, hired by the town in March to review the town’s solid waste management programs, recommended that the town site and build its own facility, possibly partnering with Carrboro and Orange County.
Bob Dick, an SCS vice president, said earlier this month that the town is better off building its own transfer station even though it might cost more over the long run. He said the town would retain “flexibility” and the ability to “control your own destiny” if it builds its own transfer station.
SCS also recommended that the town begin talks with Orange County to develop a new interlocal agreement for recycling and organic management services.
In other business tonight, the council will consider approving a draft bus advertising policy transit officials erroneously used to make decisions in administering the town’s transit advertising program.
The draft policy allows religious, political and social issue ads but restricts ads that are false, misleading, deceptive or disrespectful.
The town suspended its bus advertising policy in October, deciding not to accept any new ads in the wake of transit officials’ discovery that they have erroneously used a draft ordinance to make decisions about bus ads.
The policy has been a source of controversy every since riders complained about an ad posted by the Church of Reconciliation over the summer urging the U.S. to end military aid to Israel.