Waste Income To Benefit From 260 New Homes In Tumut

January 21, 2000 Tumut & Adelong Times

Tumut Shire Council's waste budget is expected to be operating at a surplus next year following two years of finishing in the red. Council has conducted a total review of its waste management over the past year, recommending a number of changes to improve efficiencies.

According to manager of parks and facilities, Rob Owers, council's waste income will benefit most from the likely population growth the town will experience. "With the Visy mill the number of urban dwellings in the shire will increase, conservatively estimated to be 260 new dwellings between 2000 and 2004," Mr Owers said.

With the waste budget's 1999/2000 yearly reserve at - $2809, the total waste reserve dropped to a current level of under $100,000. However, in a 10 year plan for the waste stream, Mr Owers predicts the yearly reserve will be in excess of $73,000 by the end of the decade, and the total reserve in excess of $500,000.

"This may seem like an excessive amount of money, Mr Owers said, "But given several factors this is considered desirable. Mr Owers noted that the cost of purchasing and establishing a new landfill depot may need to be allowed for sooner, rather than later, due to the expansion of the Tumut township to the south.

"Emergency rehabilitation works such as leachate containment in ground water can also be very expensive if required," he said.

Expenditure reduction over the next 10 years will include the area of parks and street garbage collection, estimated to decrease over the next year by $5,000.

Council has already changed street litter bins to 240 wheelie bins, which negate the need to empty the bins on weekends.

Expenditure increases include:

* Compaction truck running expenses, estimated to increase over $25,000 to $80,000 per year, due to an increase in the plant hire rate to cover the garbage truck replacement.

* Recycling Depots at Landfill: The 1999/2000 estimated expenditure of $20,000 is higher than previous years, due to setting up of Talbingo for recycling services, sealing works at the Tumut Landfill shed and oil shelters at Batlow and Adelong landfills.

* Adelong Site management: The estimated expenditure of $12,000 for the coming year is significantly higher than other years, due to the cost to establish the transfer station and rehabilitation works yet to be done on the old landfill and its associated drainage work.

* Supervision contract: The village contract component is expected to increase by $10,000 over the next 12 months, with the inclusion of Talbingo.

The Tumut component has increased by $4,500 to allow for any Consumer Price Index increases.

Council, meantime, will not be implementing a recommendation to offer a cash incentive to households who reduce the amount of waste produced. Council were to offer 120 litre wheelie bins at a reduced rate in an effort to reduce waste - most people now have 240 litre bins.

"If council offered a $50 reduction to 120 litre wheelie bin users, and over time 30 percent of households chose to take the offer on, this would be a $50,000 reduction in council's income " Mr Owers said.

"Given the yearly reserve doesn't exceed $50,000 until 2003/2004, it is recommended this incentive not be offered in the short term."

Meanwhile, council will extend its Landfill Recycling and Supervision contract from one year to three years, with an option for a further three years. The contract is due for renewal in April 2000, although this year's contract will be extended by one month to allow a review of operating hours.

The original contract set up in 1997 was for two years, with a two-year option, but council reduced the second option to one year, after uncertainty regarding alternative landfill options, specifically Bellette's landfill.

"This uncertainty has largely been eliminated now," Mr Owers said. "Bald Hill landfill is still a possibility for putrescibles, however, if Council used Bald Hill we would still require the same level of supervision and recycling at our landfills.

"The industry standard (for contracts) in solid waste is between six and 10 years, which brings more security to the arrangement, thus fostering greater commitment from both the contractor and council."

Council will also upgrade its petroleum oil disposal points, at a cost of around $5,000. Works will include levelling, laying a gravel base and clay bund and erection of carports to protect the areas from rain. "These areas are currently uncovered, hence with rain comes water ponding with the bunds and oil that is spilt floats on the water," Mr Owers said.

"An option to avoid this upgrade cost is to discontinue the service. However, any person who produces used oil at home will have no other option but to place containers of oil in their wheelie bin which ends up in the landfill. "This is illegal, as our landfills are not licensed to accept liquid waste," Mr Owers noted.