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Reorganizing solid waste

The reorganization of the Wadena County Solid Waste Department continued with a new plan to save money hauling waste and the purchase of a new hook truck and video monitoring system.

Mike Gibson, a consultant who is overseeing the reorganization of the solid waste department, said on a tape of the June 2 county board meeting the county could save approximately $66,000 to $70,000 by having haulers deliver their loads directly to the Perham Resource Recovery Facility. The loads have been hauled directly to Perham since the transfer station was temporarily closed in March due to personnel issues. Gibson said the new arrangement has saved the county thousands of dollars and should be continued.

Previously, loads were hauled from a receiving station at solid waste. This practice was started in 1998 when the Perham incinerator was disabled and the county had to accommodate the need for licensed sanitation haulers to transfer their loads, Gibson said. The architect who designed the receiving station has acknowledged the building is not efficient and was constructed quickly and economically when the county was in an emergency.

The county hauled 303 trailer loads of waste to the incinerator in 2008 at a cost of $105,523 including diesel fuel surcharges, Gibson said. And it seems reasonable to assume the loads needing to be hauled this year will be similar.

The transfer station is not designed for the heavy usage it has received, he said.

With the new plan there will still be loads hauled to the lined landfill in Gwinner, N.D., and people will still bring in their own waste to the transfer station, but he believes the loads hauled can be reduced by approximately 250, which would save thousands of dollars a year, Gibson said.

Otherwise, the cost to redesign the transfer station could be $2 million to $3 million, Gibson said.

This is a good time for the county to start looking at whether it can collaborate with other counties for its waste management needs, he said.

"You literally have the opportunity of a lifetime sitting in your lap right now," Gibson said.

Otter Tail County Solid Waste has a wonderful system in Fergus Falls that Wadena County might be able to make use of, he said.

Gibson also presented several options he researched for the purchase of a new hook truck. The county board approved the purchase of a $94,181 hook truck and a $31,469 hook lift and mounting system from Twin City Mack & Volvo Trucks in Roseville, Minn.

The board also approved the purchase of a video monitoring system for solid waste at a cost of $2,658.411 for equipment and installation.

There is a cash register at solid waste now and the monitoring system will help with employee safety, Gibson said.