City forecasts massive savings using new waste transfer station

Published 10:56 pm Tuesday, November 4, 2014


The City of Bainbridge projects that it will save more than $180,000 in the first year of using the waste transfer station and Cambellton, Fla., landfill, based on estimates from the initial two months of operation.
“We knew that the transfer station was going to work, and we can show that it is doing exactly what we thought it would do: it’s saving us on fuel,” City Manager Chris Hobby said.
In August and September 2013, the city spent about $17,000 on fuel to haul garbage. In August and September of this year, that cost was cut by about 63 percent to a little more than $6,000 in fuel costs.
Part of the savings has to do with decreasing gas prices; however, Hobby chalks most of it up to the reduction in trips city garbage trucks are making because they no longer go directly to the landfill. Instead, the garbage trucks transfer their loads to two larger trailers that make the trip. The trailers average about 23 tons of trash per load versus the garbage trucks’ seven-ton average.
“If you look at head-to-head costs of August and September of 2013 compared to August and September of 2014, the savings are very substantial,” Hobby said. “That primarily is the transfer station savings that we’re seeing. A small piece of that is the actual savings in tipping fees.”
The city is also saving about $2,400 a month on tipping fees, or landfill charges, after changing from using the Decatur County Landfill to Waste Management in Cambellton. Decatur County was charging Bainbridge $24.50 per ton for use of the landfill versus Waste Management’s rate of $19.56 per ton.
“That [amount is] going to ebb and flow with the volume of garbage, but right now that’s what we’re seeing,” Hobby said. “It’s hard to declare a trend after two months, and especially with what’s happened with fuel costs and the volatility in that market, but I’m pretty comfortable with saying $2,400 to $2,500 in savings [in tipping fees].”
City officials discussed the potential of a transfer station for about 10 years before it was constructed earlier this year.
“It would have worked regardless of where we were going: here or to Cambellton,” Hobby said. “When we decided to build the transfer station, going to Cambellton was not part of the calculus. The decreased tipping fees are kind of just a bonus.”
The city is also studying the possibility of allowing residents outside of the city limits to utilize the transfer station for drop offs.
“If we become more entrepreneurial with that operation, it can actually end up making a little money, and that’s something we’re continuing to study: what is the viability of that?,” Hobby said. “We do hear from a lot of residents that live outside the city limits that would like an option, and that’s something we’re looking at.”

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