Private haulers of commercial garbage may find themselves out of work next year in Bountiful.
Concerned with increasingly stringent environmental regulations, Bountiful City officials propose to get into the commercial garbage hauling business beginning Jan. 1, 1992.But the district manager for BFI Waste Systems, one of the major commercial garbage haulers in Bountiful, said the plan is an affront to the competitive market system.
The City Council approved a tentative 1991-92 budget this week that calls for spending $317,000 for a new front-end loader and about 420 commercial-size garbage bins.
City Manager Tom Hardy said the city, which already hauls its own residential waste, would gain several advantages by assuming commercial garbage collection within its corporate boundaries.
No fewer than 10 different private companies are currently hauling commercial waste in Bountiful - a situation that makes it difficult to monitor and control what goes into the landfill, Hardy said.
"There is no guarantee that all of the materials being deposited at the landfill come from businesses within the corporate limits of Bountiful. We want to make sure we only get Bountiful refuse down there."
Hardy said that if the city takes over the commercial waste hauling, it would also implement a hazardous waste diversion program to reduce the amount of toxics being brought to the dump.
"(We can) assure that those portions of the waste stream which should not reach our landfill are diverted and do not add to the contamination at the landfill."
Hardy said he believes a city-run commercial garbage program, which has the blessing of the city sanitation committee, can be operated more efficiently and at a cost equal or less to the cost currently provided by the commercial haulers.
In the short term, however, the city may lose some revenue gained through tipping fees at the landfill. Commercial haulers bring in about 8,700 tons of garbage a year. At $15 per ton, that amounts to about $130,000 of revenue.
Because some of that garbage may be coming from outside the city, the tonnage - and, therefore, the revenue - might be reduced if the city takes over. But the city, Hardy said, would benefit financially in the long run because the life of the landfill would be extended.
While he researched the plan, Hardy found the private companies less than cooperative in giving price quotes and customer lists.
"We expect (the plan) to be controversial. It's not going to be a friendly takeover. I'm sure they're going to have some objections to our taking over."
Karl Schoewe, district manager of BFI, said he objects to the plan because it would not only take away his customers but their freedom of choice.
Schoewe denied that his business brings non-Bountiful or hazardous waste into the landfill.
Noting it is unlawful for haulers to bring non-Bountiful waste to the Bountiful landfill, Schoewe said that if city officials are concerned about what's going into the landfill, they ought to increase enforcement.
"Why should they get into the hauling business? It's like oiling the window when you've got a squeaky door."
Schoewe said he also believes that his company, which has been doing business in Bountiful for 13 years, can haul commercial waste more cost-efficiently than the city.
If the City Council approves the plan at its budget hearing June 12, it would likely have to pass an ordinance allowing only the city to haul commercial garbage.