Protecting the Flow

Lewis County, N.Y. reinstates flow control.

In A Move They Say will help taxpayers, legislators in Lewis County, N.Y., have reinstated flow control. Effective July 1, all waste collected within the county must be taken to the publicly owned and operated Development Authority of North Country's (DANC) regional landfill in Rodman, N.Y.

“The major reason we did this was to regulate our costs,” says Richard Lucas, legislative vice chairman for Lewis County. Without flow control, he says, major haulers pressure the county for cheaper rates and threaten to go elsewhere. Revenues from the tipping fees are used to operate and maintain the landfill, and if revenues are too low, taxpayers have to foot the rest of the bill. “In order to maintain [our] tipping fees, we need a steady flow of trash,” he says.

Currently, tipping fees for the landfill are $41 per ton of municipal solid waste, which Lucas says he expects to remain the same as long as the county's flow control is upheld. The 75-acre DANC landfill, which opened in 1992, receives 360,000 tons of solid waste each year and has roughly 10 years of capacity remaining. Additionally, an expansion phase is currently in the planning stage, Lucas says, that would add another 100 acres and 57 years of capacity to the landfill.

The decision comes in light of last year's Supreme Court ruling in United Haulers Association v. Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority that upheld separate flow-control ordinances in the New York counties of Oneida and Herkimer. By mandating trash generated within the counties be brought to publicly owned sites, the high court told local governments that they can, without discriminating against interstate commerce, pass laws directing waste to their facilities.