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Landfill filling quickly

June 09, 2004|by TARA REILLY

tarar@herald-mail.com

With trash piling up at the Forty West Landfill and little space left to dump it, Washington County may have to send its garbage outside the county until another cell is built at the landfill.

County Director of Public Works Gary Rohrer said exporting trash can be costly, but it might be the county's only option.

An increase in garbage caused the landfill's second cell to fill up faster than anticipated, he said.

The county planned to build a third cell to open by early 2005, but the only contractor who bid on the project asked for $5.6 million more than what the county had budgeted, Chief Engineer Terry McGee told the County Commissioners at a meeting Tuesday.

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The county estimated the project would cost $4.8 million, but Polino Contracting Inc. asked for $10.4 million.

"We just don't think that's in the best interest of the county ...," McGee said.

For government projects, the contractor who submits the lowest bid typically is awarded the contract.

The commissioners rejected the bid. The county will have to re-advertise the project in hopes of attracting a contractor who offers the right price.

Re-advertising and going through the bidding process again would take more than two months, Rohrer said after the meeting.

The project was to begin on or about July 10 and be completed by Jan. 14, 2005.

Commissioners President Gregory I. Snook asked Rohrer and McGee whether offering county trucks to help haul dirt from the landfill to the Hagerstown Regional Airport would prevent delays in construction of the third cell.

"I don't want to get into exporting unless it's our last alternative," Snook said.

C. William Hetzer Inc. is hauling about 1.5 million cubic yards of dirt, or about 150,000 truckloads, to the airport to be used as filler for the runway extension project.

Rohrer said after the meeting that the stockpile of airport dirt wasn't really having an effect on the third cell construction project.

The biggest impediment to the project would be bad weather as winter approaches, he said.

"That could be what does it in," McGee said.

McGee said the construction project might be split into two phases. The first phase would consist of building and opening part of the third cell to increase landfill capacity before winter weather hits. The second phase would involve building the second portion when winter ends.

The county hauled its trash to a privately owned landfill in Scotland, Pa., in 2000 as the county's Resh Sanitary Landfill closed and Forty West Landfill was being built.

County officials said the cost to do that was about $304,000.

Forty West Landfill opened in December 2000.

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