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Articles from 2006 In March


Deadline approaches as prospect of Seattle garbage strike looms

Negotiations between union truck drivers and the Seattle area’s two major garbage haulers will reach a critical juncture at midnight, according to union organizers. That’s the deadline union officials have set for reaching a contract agreement with Waste Management Inc. and the Rabanco division of Allied Waste Industries Inc. Without such an agreement, the city’s 600 garbage truck drivers could begin striking as early as tomorrow.

Officials from both sides, quoted in published reports during the course of the week, seem optimistic that an agreement can be reached and the strike averted. But as the deadline nears, the parties involved have grown increasingly agitated. The drivers, who are members of Teamsters Local 174, are dissatisfied with rising health care costs and mandatory overtime requirements.

In the event of a strike, the companies say they plan to use replacement workers from other states. However, Theresa Jennings, director of King County’s solid waste division, said garbage service could still be interrupted for as long as five to six weeks.

Kansas creates new category of solid waste disposal area

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius yesterday signed State Bill 362 into law, establishing a new category of solid waste disposal area, defined as an “industrial facility.” This category encompasses all operations, processes and structures involved in the manufacture or production of goods, commodities, materials or other products located on or adjacent to an industrial site. Designed to clarify an existing law, SB 362 enables the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE) to issue permits to operate industrial landfills to corporate entities that operate but do not own landfills. The law will give operators the authority to conduct several key landfill activities while simultaneously requiring them to keep daily records and maintain an easement to the landfill property. Previously, only a landowner could apply for an industrial landfill permit.

Oregon expands fishing tackle recycling program

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) announced this week that it will expand a program that provides streamside receptacles for the recycling of fishing line and other tackle.

According to the Florida-based Monofilament Recovery & Recycling Program, discarded fishing line, which is made of a non-biodegradable plastic, poses a significant danger to wildlife. Because it is usually clear, animals can easily become entangled in the line, leading to injury or death. Some animals also ingest the material.

“Monofilament line may snare small animals, marine mammals, birds and waterfowl,” said Tod Lum, ODFW wildlife biologist. “I’ve seen birds and mammals with missing limbs from having the line wrapped around them so tightly.”

The line can also be a nuisance to humans, fouling boat motor props and ensnaring swimmers.

According to an ODFW press release, the tackle recycling program began in 2004 with 26 collection stations distributed among Oregon’s six major stream basins. Volunteers with the ODFW Salmon and Trout Enhancement Program (STEP) help install and service the stations and are responsible for processing the deposited tackle. The expansion will place 50 additional collection stations at popular angling locations around the state.

“Because of this program’s success, particularly with reducing the amount of discarded fishing line around rivers and lakes, the Legislature recently made it a permanent ODFW program,” said STEP Coordinator Gary Galovich.

A Midwest-based fishing tackle company melts down and recycles the high-density plastic monofilament lines to create fish habitat structures. Fishing gear, including lead weights, metal hooks and lures are recycled in Oregon.

BFI-operated landfill receives approval for expansion

The Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation has granted permission for expansion of the Middlepoint landfill in Rutherford County. According to a press release, the landfill, which is operated by BFI Waste Systems of Tennessee, a division of Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Allied Waste, has met the conditions for waste storage, processing and disposal. “State law requires us to assure that landfills are properly designed and operated in a manner that will protect the citizens and environment of our state,” Mike Apple, director of the Division of Solid Waste Management said in a statement. “We have a design and operational plan that meets state law and will provide for the safe disposal of waste from Rutherford and several other counties. We have also placed permit conditions on this site that will assure the compliance of this site with the regulations.”

Washington governor signs e-waste bill

Last week, Washington Gov. Christine Gregoire signed a bill that will require electronics manufacturers to pay for e-waste recycling in the state. Senate Bill 6428 will create the Washington Materials Management and Financing Authority, which will be required to establish a statewide e-waste recycling program by Jan. 1, 2009. “This bill puts our market-based economy to work for the environment,” Gregoire said in a statement. “It’s a responsible step in the best interests of the public, because no matter who owns the equipment at the end of its life, it will be recycled — free of charge.”

NSWMA releases white paper on the development of modern landfills

The National Solid Wastes Management Association (NSWMA), Washington, has released a new white paper discussing the development, design and operation of modern landfills. The paper, titled “Modern Landfills: A Far Cry from the Past,” also provides information about the future of landfills, including bioreactor landfill construction and the use of biocovers. To access the report, visit www.nswma.org.

SWANA releases survey to aid update of MOLO training course

The Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA), Silver Spring, Md., has released a survey for landfill professionals in an effort to update its Manager of Landfill Operations training course and certification exam. According to the organization, the survey is meant to create a “body of knowledge” that can be used to determine the issues that will be covered and tested. To access the survey, visit www.swana.org.

Missouri officials ease waste disposal regulations following recent storms

After last week’s tornadoes, the Missouri Department of Natural Resources will temporarily ease its disposal regulations to aid cleanup efforts. According to an article in the News-Leader, Gov. Matt Blunt issued the executive order that will ease the regulations for 90 days and enable landfills to accept materials that are normally prohibited from the sites. Although items such as household appliances and junk vehicles can be recycled, officials are allowing these materials to be sent to the landfills.

Waste Services releases fourth-quarter results

Burlington, Ontario-based Waste Services has released its fourth-quarter 2005 (4Q) results and has reported a net loss of $12.1 million on total revenues of $96.3 million. For the same period in 2004, the company reported a net loss of $13.1 million on revenues of $93.2 million. For 2005, the company had a net loss of $50.3 million with revenues of $382.4 million. The company reported a net loss of $48.2 million in 2004 with revenues of $310.8 million.