For years, much has been written about the wasteful folly of New Hanover County’s waste incinerator, known as WASTEC. Back in 2006, the John Locke Foundation did a report on that waste. You can read that report here. Since that time, the county realized it was losing $500k a month to keep the horrifically inefficient incinerator open.
Now, the county is once again, considering wasting millions to open it yet again.
(StarNews) At the regular board meeting at 6pm, commissioners will open the floor for a public hearing about the incinerator proposal before possibly taking a vote. ”The only question in my mind is, is that the route to go or something else?” Commissioner Jason Thompson said.
But there’s SO much more to this discussion that affects taxpayers.
County staff estimated that tip fees could raise to up to $93 per ton – a substantial increase from the current tip fee of $59 per ton. Hubbard said that could add about $3 per month to a customer’s bill.
No word on whether the county will pursue expanding its existing landfill which could add significant capacity for decades. That would be at least one avenue that could save taxpayers tens of millions of dollars.
The incinerator burns a lot of trash, but at a SERIOUS premium to taxpayers. Is it worth it? Nope!
Here is a reasonable 20-year solution (you won’t see this ANYWHERE in the media):
1) use existing building at Wastec for transfer station (County Maintains control)
2) negotiate (issue RFP if required) a volume deal at the closest regional solid waste landfill. (use their space up – the county saves theirs). Regional landfills cost v. NHC is much lower, they do almost 1M tons per year and it will reflect in the price. Disposal would run in the low $20/ton excluding transit cost. ($93/ton being explored tonight)
3) Begin expansion of Southern disposal area by getting permits done and then keep that option in case the regional landfill tries to increasing the price above what is acceptable. As long as the regional landfill knows that New Hanover can at any time handle their own waste, it will afford them a price below what New Hanover can do for itself. (Mecklenburg County has used this approach against Allied/Republic for years and have been the benefactor of saving millions and not depleting their own airspace and having it for the future.)
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