Rutherford County proposal
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:23:23 -0500

Dave, Sorry for the mixup. This is the proposal I was talking about.
As befor, does Alternative 2 interest you, and if so how might you
plug in if we got some work?
Bill Sheehan


Rutherford County, like many counties, faces escalating waste disposal
costs and is seeking cost-efficient solutions for managing discards.
Often commissioners feel that responsible waste management is too
complex or too expensive and that the private sector can do a better

E & C Consulting Engineers, Inc. believes that public ownership of
waste disposal facilities has advantages over private ownership, and
that 'solid waste management' can become an economic opportunity with
long-term business development benefits when discards are viewed as
used resources rather than as wastes.

We believe that public ownership of landfills (but not necessarily of
recycling and reuse enterprises) is the preferred approach for
managing the waste fraction of discards, due to cost, liability and
control advantages over privatization:

* Costs for public ownership can be less than private ownership;
* Liability ultimately flows back to the public sector;
* Public ownership of waste facilities enables the County to manage
disposal activities at levels beyond the minimal limits required by
law; and
* Public ownership insures public participation which is necessary to
ensure that appropriate preventative actions and plans are

Public sector leadership and involvement is also essential for
creating a comprehensive diversion system in which private ventures
can capitalize on the economic opportunities inherent in recycling and
reuse enterprises.

Two fundamentally different approaches are possible if Rutherford
County wishes to remain active in discard management. E & C
Consulting Engineers, Inc. is uniquely qualified to assist the County
plan and implement either approach.

I. Landfill Centered System The more conventional approach is to
manage discards primarily as waste: build a landfill for in-county or
nearby waste, implement or franchise an efficient collection system,
and ensure effective management practices. Recycling can be adopted
as an adjunct to this system. E & C Consulting Engineers, Inc. has
designed, found funding for, and managed construction of such an
integrated waste management system in Atkinson County, Georgia -- a
county smaller than Rutherford.

II. Integrated Resource Recovery Facility Centered System The more
innovative approach is to design and implement a comprehensive
reclamation facility that combines several proven discard management
techniques: reusable goods exchange, scrap recyclables processing,
wood chipping, organics composting, soil screening, and used oil
collection and refining. A scaled down landfill can be constructed
for residues, with the ultimate goal of eliminating the need for it
altogether. This is the truly conservative approach in that it
conserves resources, reduces pollution, and creates wealth through
upgrading and marketing discards. E & C Consulting Engineers, Inc. is
pioneering this approach in the Southeast through a partnership with
the an international team of leading experts and practitioners in this

I. Landfill Centered System

Subtitle D Landfill Given that you have a landfill site with room
for expansion, building a Subtitle D cell may make good economic
sense. At minimum, costs have been exaggerated in some circles, and
this option should be investigated.

As a very preliminary estimate, we calculate that two 2.5 acre cells
would cost between $600,000 and $1,100,000, depending on availability
of good quality clay and sand. Closure of these Subtitle D cells can
be accomplished for $800,000, with $20,000 per year needed for post-
closure monitoring for 30 years.

Collection One option for collection of trash and recyclables is
door-to-door collection service using automated vehicles. Such a
system could be set up economically using three trucks, 90 gallon
containers for each household, and three staff.
Some recyclables could be extracted from wet garbage using prison
labor. More material and higher-value material could be diverted if
source-separated recyclables are collected automatically in special,
divided 90-gallon containers, or in a trailer hauled behind the truck.
Economic feasibility will depend on participation rates, distances to
markets, and other factors.

More recyclables could be diverted from the landfill if variable
garbage rates are integrated into the program. Fixed fees remove the
incentive to source-separate recyclables and otherwise reduce waste;
variable rates (market-based or pay-as-you-throw pricing) is an
effective means of reducing garbage generator behavior. Garbage
service is charged for like a utility, such as water, electricity and
telephone, while recyclables are accepted without charge.

The total landfill and collection package described could be paid for
with a monthly per household fee of between $10.00 and $12.75.

II. Integrated Resource Recovery Facility Centered System

An Integrated Resource Recovery Facility (IRRF) is a comprehensive
reclamation facility that accepts discarded material in an efficient
and orderly fashion. It would most logically be located at the
current landfill site since most discards are already arriving there.
The landfill could be expanded into a Subtitle D cell, with the goal
of slowing down and eventually cutting off the supply of material to
the landfill. Local investors and operators can be found to develop
different segments of the IRRF, much as merchants are recruited
operate spaces in a shopping mall.

Several considerations are key in designing and implementing an IRRF-
centered comprehensive resource recovery system:

* Take a comprehensive view of the discard stream as a supply stream
of material for reuse and recycling
* Design a collection system to minimize mixing of discards
* Maintain public control of waste facilities to remove incentives for
profiting from wasting
* Scale waste facility disposal capacity so that primary reliance is
on reuse and recycling

Money will be needed to build and operate the facility, but once it
is up and running, the facility will generate considerable revenue
from two sources: disposal service fees and product sales. Adding up
the expected income stream and subtracting the cost of operating
provides an estimate of the facility's net operating balance. We
believe these facilities can generate a net profit.

Separation of raw material inputs at the source (that is, by the
generator) is critical to success of an IRRF. The more tolerant the
IRRF is of receiving mixed materials, usually in the name of
convenience for users, the more contamination it can expect in its
products. Also, the lower the recovery rate and income are likely to
be. Some materials can arrive comingled, such as paper products
(newspaper, cardboard, magazines and mixed paper), or non-paper
containers (glass and plastic bottles and steel and aluminum cans).
Discard transporters can learn to pack their trucks to maximize
efficient sequrential unloading.

We would design the IRRF around twelve master categories of discarded
materials: reusable goods, paper, metals, glass, plastics, textiles,
plant debris, putrescibles, wood, ceramics, soils, and chemicals.
Each master cartegory may be divided into dozens of subcategories by
various cleaning and refining processes. But each material ultimately
relates to a particular end-use industry, and the master categories do
not overlap significantly, except for reusable goods, which may well
provide the consistently highest value.

Value follows the principle of highest and best use. Lumber that is
denailed, trimmed to size, and stacked neatly can be sold for ten
cents to a dollar per linear foot. But the same lumber may only bring
$10 to $40 per ton if it is instead scrapped by chipping or grinding.

The deision to maximize overall value at the IRRF or to minimize
landfilling is a strategic one that the County may decide to make. If
the County's goal is to reduce landfilling fast, some of the bigger
categories in the discard stream can be captured quickly. But if the
local economy has lots of surplus labor, then the County may go after
the most valuable categories first to generate more employment per
investment dollar, and enough revenue to finance recovery of less
valuable fractions

May 9, 1996

Prepared by Bill Sheehan, Ph.D.
E & C Consulting Engineers, Inc.
1600 Atkinson Road, Bldg. A
Lawrenceville GA 30243
Tel 770-995-9606 Fax 770-995-6603