Your Views: Selling Janesville landfill doesn’t make long-term sense

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Monday, May 19, 2014

Sale of city landfill—wrong or right? Do residents want local waste or waste from who knows where filling the space?

Janesville is getting proposals to sell the landfill. Selling the landfill might resolve some short-term financial problems but may be a long-term detriment. The landfill made money for years and only in the last few has operated at a loss.

The city failed to retain long-term contracts. The landfill had a profit after GM closed and the economy worsened. Additional waste of 15,000 to 20,000 tons a year could be enough to cover expenses.

The landfill is an asset. Sale to a private company could result in liability and risk to the city relating to the closed landfills, gas-to-energy agreement with Ameresco and agreement with Janesville Sand & Gravel. History at other government facilities would indicate a significant increase in disposal costs once any short-term agreement expires.  It happened to Beloit.

The area mined by Janesville Sand & Gravel has space for disposal for 30 to 40 years at a rate controlled by the city. A private firm would likely fill the space in half that time. Long term, this accelerated rate could negate short-term financial benefits.

I hope concerned residents and business people talk with the city administration and city council about this important matter. Proposals are due May 23.  I was engineer at the landfill for 25 years and worked on agreements and budgets associated with the many disposal sites.



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