Dallas Approves Flow Control Measure

Dallas city council approved a flow control measure to direct waste to its city landfill, with Organic Energy Corp. proposing to build a recycling facility using the waste.

The council voted in favor of the ordinance by a 9-6 vote. The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), which opposed the measure, proposed postponing the vote to create a task force to consider other options. That proposal lost by one vote.

Organic Energy wants to invest nearly $100 million in a recycling facility at the city’s McCommas Bluff landfill that it says can capture 95 percent of the recyclables from the city’s annual waste of about 1.3 million tons. The company said it could mean between $5 million and $20 million in revenue for Dallas. The company said the city would commit the waste to fuel the facility.

“The council sees the immediate benefit of capitalizing on the waste stream,” says Mary Nix, director of sanitation for the city. “In general, securing the waste stream now will give any private partner a greater ability to show a profit.”

NSWMA opposed the measure, saying it will be more costly than the current situation where the waste flows to about a dozen area landfills.

“It’s very disappointing,” says Tom Brown, NSWMA chapter president who also works for Progressive Waste Solutions Ltd. “We thought they had several possible solutions.” The city could have sold the landfill or leased it out. Dallas also could have privatized its residential collection, which would have saved $15 million. And the city still could have had the recovery facility.

“They linked the two,” says Brown. They never should have been linked.” He said Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings was particularly passionate about wanting flow control.

Brown says the move will add $19 million in costs from disposal, transportation and logistics. “We believe our costs are going to go up 20 percent,” he says. “We can’t absorb that kind of a cost increase without passing it on to our customers.”

The ordinance takes effect Jan. 2.

CORRECTION: The story originally said the ordinance commited waste to the proposed recycling facility, not the landfill.

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