Steps made on SPSA fronts

Published 9:21 pm Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Plans for regional trash disposal past January 2018 are moving ahead with about a year and a half to go.

Local agreements with the regional trash disposal entity, known as the Southeastern Public Service Authority, are set to expire in January 2018. However, a framework is set for the continuation of the authority and the cooperation of its eight member localities, and Wednesday’s board meeting in Chesapeake included reports on the efforts to make that happen on several fronts.

Executive Director Rowland “Bucky” Taylor reported to the board that the authority has applied to the city of Suffolk for permits that will allow it to dispose of trash in Cell VII at the landfill and to use three additional cells for borrow material.


Email newsletter signup

City Manager Patrick Roberts said after the meeting that the permits would go through the normal process of staff review, Planning Commission recommendation and then a City Council vote.

The board also heard an update on activity by RePower South, the company selected to dispose of waste delivered to SPSA post-2018.

The company has executed a lease for a facility in Chesapeake, where it plans to convert the region’s waste to energy pellets, which would then be used as an alternative fuel to coal.

In addition, the governor has granted approval for the issuance of up to $90 million in tax-exempt bonds. The final Department of Environmental Quality approval for waste processing has also been issued, and the conditional use permit has been approved by Chesapeake.

Also Wednesday, Roberts gave a presentation on commercial haulers after a closed session discussing them. Commercial haulers were a sticking point that threatened to derail negotiations earlier this year to continue SPSA.

Roberts, the chair of a subcommittee working on the issue, said SPSA will allow commercial haulers to bring trash collected from businesses, apartment complexes and the like to SPSA transfer stations. It will be commingled in the waste stream with municipal waste collected from homes.

Once RePower has disposed of the amount of trash it is required to, another company is needed to haul away and dispose of the rest of the waste. Roberts said SPSA will issue a request for proposals for such a company.

The request for proposals should be issued within the next 90 days, Roberts said, with proposals due 30 days from the date of issuance and a contract negotiated and submitted to the board by February 2017. Roberts said he hopes to accomplish all of this “with an emphasis on sooner rather than later.”

He said the board will be looking for the best value in the proposals, not necessarily the lowest price.