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Bid for landfill liner is lower than expected

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The liner for a new cell at the Adobe Buttes Landfill has come in well under cost estimates.

Earlier this month, the county commissioners accepted a bid from Con-Sy Inc. of Grand Junction of $553,895 to install an impermeable barrier in the bottom of the new cell. According to information provided to the commissioners, there were 22 potential contractors at the pre-bid meeting and five bids for the work finally submitted. The high bid was $719,000.

The liner is a key component for the new cell and its cost, previously estimated from $800,000 up to $1.2 million, will affect new tipping fee rates when they are determined by the commissioners.

Calculations provided by county staff earlier this year showed that an increase in the charge for commercial compacted loads from the current $28 per ton would need to be raised to $41 per ton. An increase of that magnitude would affect business for commercial haulers who would have to pass on the higher costs to their customers.

Last year the minimum charge, which is assessed to most individual loads, was raised from $5 to $10. The county is not anticipating a hike in that fee.

The landfill cell presently being filled is expected to reach capacity in about a year at current rates of 100 to 200 tons per day. The new cell will be expected to last six to eight years at that rate.

Last winter when discussions of higher landfill fees took place, the DCI reported that comparisons with other West Slope landfills showed Delta County's charge below the range of $30 per ton at Mesa County to $66 per ton at Pitkin County. An analysis of the county's actual costs peg them currently at $40.78 per ton.

Adobe Buttes took in approximately 30,000 tons of trash in 2016. If the county's per ton charge were raised to $41 per ton, the additional charge would raise up to $390,000 in additional income per year. The $41 figure "is projected to be adequate to provide the necessary revenues to cover any cost increase due to increased landfill use for the foreseeable future," states a county cost analysis report.

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