Council OKs host agreement

Published 10:09 pm Thursday, April 21, 2016

City Council on Wednesday approved a proposed host agreement with the Southeastern Public Service Authority that provides benefits and protections for the city hosting the regional landfill.

The resolution they approved allows City Manager Patrick Roberts to enter into the agreement with the authority.

The authority’s regional landfill is located in Suffolk, and the city has sought a host agreement to go into effect in January 2018, when the current agreements between the authority and its eight member localities expire.

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In the past, the city has received free disposal of trash in exchange for hosting the landfill, but its fellow member localities have made clear they would not accept a similar deal this time around if they were to remain members of SPSA.

Therefore, the city has asked for a host fee and other concessions as part of its new agreement.

While Suffolk no longer will receive free trash disposal, the host agreement will provide the city a host fee of $4 per ton of municipal solid waste delivered to the landfill.

“The more they bring, the more impact there is to the city of Suffolk, and the more financial host benefits the city will receive,” Eric Nielsen, Public Works director, said in Wednesday’s meeting.

The agreement would expire 20 years following the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality certifying the termination of post-closure care, a process that typically takes up to 30 years following the closure.

“We have 50 years out that we have that protection,” Councilman Mike Duman said.

The agreement also provides for city access for inspection purposes, ground water monitoring, an odor control plan, landfill gas management system, containment of noise within the boundary of the landfill, community relations and complaint resolution.

The agreement would expire at the end of 2017 if Suffolk City Council has not granted a conditional use permit for an additional cell at the landfill.

“This is comprehensive,” Councilman Roger Fawcett said. “It covers every little detail that you can possibly come up with.”

“If we can hold them to the agreement, I think it will be quite a bit of protection for us and the community,” Vice Mayor Leroy Bennett said.

Bennett lives closer to the landfill than almost anybody else and remembers several years ago, when the strong odor from the landfill affected his community.

“I know what we have gone through some years past,” he said. “I hope that we’ll be able to not have to go through what we went through some years ago.”

Roberts, and subsequently member of City Council, commended city employees for their hard work on the agreement. They included Nielsen, Assistant Public Works Director L.J. Hansen and Deputy City Attorney William Hutchings.

“I really appreciate the effort that was done to get us to this point,” Councilman Don Goldberg said.

Roberts said the full SPSA board will consider the host agreement during its April 27 meeting. If all goes well, his next step will be to have City Council consider becoming a member of SPSA post-2018 at its May 4 meeting.