Waste hauler wants to handle towns' yard debris

May 25, 1994|By Traci A. Johnson | Traci A. Johnson,Sun Staff Writer

For several weeks, Eastern Waste Industries has been taking advantage of the county's indecision on yard waste by offering to collect grass, shrubs, leaves and prunings for individual municipalities.

The company has approached at least two towns about collecting and transporting yard waste to the county landfill for a flat fee and the purchase of fluorescent stickers to identify each bag of vegetation.

The county commissioners are still trying to decide how to handle yard waste and whether and how much to charge to process it at the county landfill.

The Union Bridge Town Council decided Monday to decline the offer brought to it this month by EWI representative Heath Hale.

Mr. Hale also offered the company's services to Hampstead during its May 10 Town Council meeting.

"He said it was open to negotiation," said Hampstead Town Manager John Riley of Mr. Hale's visit to the council meeting. "I think what he was giving us were ballpark figures."

Mr. Riley said Hampstead employees have been picking up and transporting yard waste since May 1, when the clippings were banned from being mixed with trash that is dumped and buried in the landfill.

On May 9, town workers labored 10 to 12 hours to collect about 4 tons of yard waste to be composted at a separate site at the landfill, Mr. Riley said.

Mr. Hale accompanied the Hampstead employees May 16 as they collected nearly 5 tons of yard waste. He needed to determine the number of stops and the quantity of debris to make an estimate of cost, Mr. Riley said.

Hampstead has made no decision regarding EWI's services.

For Union Bridge, EWI proposed a flat fee of $900 per month for twice-monthly pick up from June 1 until Oct. 31, with the town buying fluorescent "yard waste only" stickers from EWI for 50 cents.

The town could sell them to residents for a dollar and make a profit, suggested EWI. For example, if residents at 234 properties -- 60 percent of the town's 390 units -- used the service, and each unit generated eight bags of clippings each month, the sale of the stickers would bring in $936.

Minus the flat rate each month, the town would pick up a $36 profit.

"The idea is sound, but this flat fee doesn't sit right with me," said Councilman Bret Grossnickle. The other Union Bridge officials agreed.

Because residents are concerned about the issue -- "and we still haven't gotten anything from the county," said Mayor Perry L. Jones Jr. -- council members decided they should take steps to solve the problem themselves.

"The Dumpster is not the answer, and this [proposal] is too expensive," said Councilwoman Bonnie Hyde. "I don't know what the answer is, but we have to do something."

After debating the merits of becoming involved in providing the service, the council agreed that the job should be put out for bids.

A committee led by Ms. Hyde and Mr. Grossnickle will work on bid specifications. Residents with ideas about how the yard waste should be collected should contact the town hall about joining the committee.

Mr. Jones and Mr. Riley -- both of whom accompanied the county commissioners and other municipal officials to Tennessee to see an advanced composting facility May 5 -- said they hope the county decides to build a similar plant in Carroll because it will alleviate the problems the towns are facing.

Phone calls to Mr. Hale at his Frederick office were not returned.

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