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County seeks bids for third landfill cell

June 22, 2004|by RYAN C. TUCK

ryant@herald-mail.com

Washington County is courting bidders for the construction of the third operating cell of the Forty West Landfill, the next phase in a plan expected to accommodate county disposal needs for the next 80 to 100 years.

The county's Department of Solid Waste couples that projection on its Web site with a plea for people to reduce the amount of waste they create and to recycle "for the benefit of all Washington County residents."

"It's not an easy fix," said Robert G. Davenport, director of the Solid Waste Department, explaining the balance between waste reduction and consumption. "It's easy if you don't make anything."

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At their June 8 meeting, the Washington County Commissioners unanimously voted to reject the only bid received, from Polino Contracting, for Cell III construction.

"(The bid) was more than double the estimate cost," said County Chief Engineer Terry McGee.

The Polino bid was for $10.4 million. McGee's cost estimate was $4.85 million.

The county plans to re-bid the project.

The county's overall plan calls for the eventual construction of 14 cells at the landfill. The first two cells were approximately 11 acres each. When a cell is filled with trash, it is covered and a new cell begins operation.

Cell III is to be approximately 14 acres.

Davenport stressed the need for people to be aware of ways to reduce waste. Watching what you buy, recycling and reusing products are some of the easiest ways to do that, he said.

"Progress or lack of progress will be based on residents ... and more on commercial and industrial sources," said Harvey Hoch, county recycling coordinator.

He said an ideal consumer would reduce waste first, recycle second and go to the landfill as a last resort.

With curbside recycling service in Williamsport, yard debris and mixed paper curbside service in Hagerstown, and various private collectors throughout the county, Hoch said the county has many opportunities to "keep waste out of the landfill."

Davenport said the 15 public and 11 private recycling and waste collection sites throughout the county help reduce the county's solid waste and allow the landfill to expand according to plan.

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