COLUMBIA — City staff hopes to collect more material for a bioreactor at the Columbia landfill by allowing people to leave yard waste there for free.
A proposal from the Columbia Public Works Department was scheduled to be introduced for first reading at Monday night's Columbia City Council meeting and should be up for a final vote on Dec. 17. If passed, it would eliminate the chipping fee for those who bring tree limbs, brush and other yard waste to the landfill's compost facility.
"We use mulch as cover material for the bioreactor cell so it is beneficial for us," landfill and recovery superintendent Cynthia Mitchell said in an email. "Covering the cost of grinding ourselves as opposed to charging the chipping fee on the incoming material will hopefully result in more material incoming for this use as well as composting."
The existing fee is $19 per ton for people taking their yard waste to the compost facility at the landfill to be chipped.
Mitchell said the benefits from having more mulch to cover the bioreactor will offset the revenue the city will lose by eliminating the charge for grinding at the landfill's compost facility. She said she assumes the amendment to the ordinance will pass because it's more economical.
Columbia residents have two other locations — at Parkside Drive and Capen Park — where they can drop yard waste for free, so the proposed bill will have no effect on them, Mitchell said.
Solid waste utility manager Richard Wieman said 629 tons of yard waste were brought into the compost facility adjacent to the landfill during fiscal 2012, bringing in $14,158. Wieman said the chances of that waste being from residents is slim because of the two other drop-off sites in town. He said most of the yard waste coming to the landfill's compost operation is from private contractors, although there is no distinction between the waste.
Wieman said there may be residents closer to the landfill who want to bring it to that compost facility, but he anticipates almost no impact on Columbia residents if the amendment is passed.
Water and Light Department spokesperson Connie Kacprowicz said the energy generated from methane gas at the entire landfill amounts to about 13,000 megawatt hours a year and ends up accounting for 1.2 percent of the total electricity the city uses.
Supervising editor is John Schneller.