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  • Writer's pictureCharlene Sims, Journal staff

Commission looks to improve efficiency in solid waste system

Updated: Dec 1, 2022

MOUND CITY – The Linn County Commissioners discussed looking at different options for the solid waste transfer station at Prescott with Public Works Director Shaun West at their weekly meeting on Monday, Oct. 3.

Commission Chair Jim Johnson had asked West for the tonnage of waste from each compactor location so that they could look at the costs for the disposal of waste.

West said that he had learned that the Allen County landfill was charging $27 per ton for taking trash. He compared that to Arcadia, where the county dumps its trash now, at $40 ton.

Johnson was concerned that the trailers full of compressed trash from each compactor were being taken to Arcadia separately with only 3 to 8 tons in them.

He said he thought it would be more efficient if each compactor site’s trash went to Prescott to a tipping floor where it could be loaded into a trailer and 20 tons hauled to a landfill at a time.

County Counselor Gary Thompson said that Linn County averages about 4.5 trips a day to Arcadia with trash.

At present, any trash taken to the transfer station by commercial haulers or local residents is loaded into trailers and taken to Arcadia. Only construction demolition (CD) items go into the Linn County landfill.

If a person takes trash and CD items to Prescott, they are asked to put the trash in the building and vehicles are weighed and charged for the CD debris before dumping in the landfill.

As the discussion continued, it became apparent that determining the cost savings of taking each city’s compactor trash to the Prescott transfer station included many different issues.

“I think it’s time to redo the whole damn program,” said Commissioner Danny McCullouigh.

They determined the first thing to consider was the cost of redesigning the transfer station’s tipping floor and purchasing a walking trailer in which to haul the trash. Other items to look at were the cost of possible added manpower at Prescott, the savings in mileage, and other additional costs or savings.

Since determining the cost efficiency of the changes was so complex, the commissioners asked West to have Linn County’s on-call engineering firm do an estimate of what it would cost to do a complete study and cost-benefit analysis looking at the changes to the tipping floor, the addition of a walking floor trailer and travel time.

In a later telephone interview with West, he said that if it looked feasible, the county staff would develop a request for proposal (RFP).

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