June 12, 2014 10:17:02 AM
An agreement between the city council and Triangle Maintenance to chip storm debris at the landfill should help preserve the landfill's lifespan by nine months to a year, city officials say.
The company and city have entered into a contract that allows Triangle Maintenance employees to come to the landfill site and process wood waste from the April tornadoes delivered to the landfill. Triangle Maintenance is not being charged to process the wood.
The city receives $21 a ton in fees from the county from debris taken there from Lowndes County. The county was declared a disaster area after the April storms, making the county and city eligible for 75 percent of their cleanup costs to be reimbursed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The agreement is in accordance with a temporary permit granted by the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality, as well as state and federal emergency management agencies. The agreement has no bearing on the city policy which does not allow private entities to remove or process any material on landfill property. Another problem the agreement with Triangle Maintenance will help solve is removal of about 4,000 tons of debris that has been placed outside the permitted area of the landfill cells. Chief operations officer David Armstrong said the city learned from MDEQ that the debris was outside the acceptable periphery. The agreement means Triangle Maintenance will be able to grind 90 percent of the vegetative debris.
The alternative would have been to bury all of the debris, Armstrong said.
"It's definitely a win-win situation, not just from a money aspect," Armstrong said. "The other win is we're not being charged for the service, and if we bury all that debris in our landfill, you're talking about nine months to a year of usage it would take away."
Scott Hannon, owner of Triangle Maintenance, said his company typically processes waste wood that is delivered to the company's debris yard and sells it as hog fuel, which is a mix of chips of bark and wood fiber.
"We're trying to help the city out in this specific situation," Hannon said.
Lowndes County supervisors recently approved a contract with Triangle Maintenance allowing some debris to be transported straight to the company's debris yard. The county pays Triangle $2.50 per cubic yard for disposal.
Columbus councilmen voted in March to raise the vertical limits of its active landfill cells. Between the city and county, more than 30,000 cubic yards of debris is expected to have been cleaned up by the time the process is complete.
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
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