SPSA cuts landfill hours

Published 10:15 pm Wednesday, February 23, 2011

The regional trash authority’s board of directors on Wednesday approved a number of measures aimed at operating the Suffolk landfill more efficiently, including eliminating three staff positions at the site.

The Southeastern Public Service Authority board of directors voted to authorize executive director Rowland Taylor to make the changes. The changes also include postponing some paving projects at the site and scheduling a public hearing to increase the tipping fee for construction and demolition waste.

“These are reductions to bring in new efficiencies,” Taylor said.

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The landfill will be closed on Monday and Saturday mornings, but the transfer station will remain open following the changes. Employees will work longer hours on the remaining four days to keep the landfill open the same amount of time.

Prior to Wednesday’s decisions, there had been talk of closing the landfill, because it now costs more to operate than it brings in.

Though the vote was unanimous, some board members wanted to look for efficiencies in the entire SPSA operation, not just the landfill.

“This addresses one little piece, and there are much larger issues out there,” Franklin representative June Fleming said. “This is ordinary housekeeping.”

Chesapeake representative Eric Martin agreed.

“I hope we do look at all the other operations,” he said.

Since Wheelabrator took over the operation of SPSA’s waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth, the only refuse coming to the Suffolk landfill has been construction and demolition waste. That has dramatically decreased the amount of revenue the landfill takes in.

Even so, the authority is moving ahead with the public hearing process to receive a permit to construct Cell 7 at the site. The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality will conduct a public hearing at 7 p.m. March 31 in the auditorium of Nansemond River High School.

The public hearing on raising the tipping fee for construction and demolition waste from $30 to $40 will be held in May.

In other business at the meeting, Taylor reported the authority has received only one complaint of odor since December. That report came on Feb. 4.

The authority has continued the odor mitigation efforts it already has in place.