Junk 'bonding'

The Colonie Landfill Exploratory Committee has concluded a private partnership is likely the best way for the town's struggling landfill to survive, as stated in a report presented to the Town Board Thursday, Sept. 23.

The committee has met six times since its inception in late June and explored several options when looking to see what changes need to be made for the town's landfill to compete with other municipalities nearby.

Jack Cunningham, director of the Department of Public Works in Colonie and member of the committee, stressed the difficulty the town's landfill faces when competing with nearby solid waste management facilities, as many of them have entered into a Professional Operating Agreement partnering with a private landfill operator. He also added the pressures handed down by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation with various regulations for protecting the environment from landfill contaminates increases the operating costs, hurting small facilities such as the Colonie Landfill.

The solid waste management industry has grown into a multi-million dollar, multi-national economy and our landfill is a very small segment of that industry, said Cunningham during the presentation. "Competing in that type of industry would be like running a single, privately owned hardware store when you've got Lowes and Home Depot on either side of you. It's very hard to compete with the rates our competitors are setting."

He added he had spoken with a local waste hauler who said he would not bring his waste to the landfill as it was cheaper to ship it to Rochester as opposed to driving down Route 9 and dumping waste into the town's site.

Other options that were explored were to continue running the facility as it is, sell to an independent operator or shut it down entirely, all options Cunningham said would be costly.

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