Douglas County Public Works wants to know if there’s a private company that could take over operations at some or all of the county’s transfer stations.
The county currently operates 11 transfer stations, where residents can bring their trash. Currently, the trash brought to those stations is taken to the Douglas County landfill by county public works employees.
County officials issued a request for proposals last week. They hope private companies will step forward with proposals for collecting the trash at those transfer stations and carrying it to landfill sites outside the county.
Douglas County Commissioner Chris Boice said that could extend the life of Douglas County’s landfill. He also said privatization could lead to cost savings for the county and additional hours of operation for the customers. Currently, all the transfer stations are closed Mondays and Tuesdays, and some of the smaller stations are open just one or two days per week.
Boice said the move stems from a need to extend the life of the landfill. The state Department of Environmental Quality has demanded the county government create a plan to ensure it has enough money for the eventual closure and post-closure expenses once the landfill is full.
“The longer the landfill can stay open, the better we’re going to be, so extending the life of the landfill is a priority,” Boice said.
The county’s had some good news on that score. Boice said a year ago, he’d have estimated the lifespan of the landfill at about nine more years. But now, thanks to engineering reports on how well the trash in the landfill is compacting, and how much air space is left to hold trash, the county believes the landfill could continue receiving trash at the same rate and yet remain open for about 27 more years.
If the county is able to contract with a company that would collect some of the trash at the transfer stations and carry it to other landfills, that lifespan could be roughly doubled, Boice said. The county could charge an export fee on the trash, so it would continue to generate funds for the landfill closure expenses.
Boice said whether the county decides to go this route depends on what kinds of proposals it receives.
“We want to know if there’s somebody else out there that can do it cheaper than we can, and the truth is we don’t know the answer to that question yet, which is why we’re issuing this request for proposals,” he said.
Interested companies must submit sealed proposals to the Douglas County Solid Waste Department, 1036 SE Douglas Ave., Room 220, Roseburg OR, 97470 on or before 4 p.m. July 27. The commissioners will open the bids and discuss them during their Aug. 1 meeting.