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Local

2017 DeKalb County landfill collections nearly hit 500,000-ton cap

2017 county landfill collections nearly hit 500,000-ton cap

DeKALB – Fourth-quarter waste collected at the Prairie Hill Landfill in Morrison in 2017 was slightly higher than anticipated and might continue to be in the future.

Why might this be significant, dozens of miles from Whiteside County? Because some of the added tonnage was coming from the DeKalb County Landfill so it would not hit its 500,000-ton cap in 2017.

Total tons of municipal solid waste in 2017 were about 496,000 at the landfill at 18370 Somonauk Road, according to remittance reports from Waste Management.

Lisa Disbrow, Waste Management spokeswoman, said to her knowledge, it might not be the first year the county was close to hitting its cap, but Waste Management works to ensure it never does reach it.

“Our requirement is to dispose no more than 500,000 tons of municipal solid waste annually,” Disbrow said. “We plan accordingly to meet this expectation.”

Municipal solid waste may be redirected to another facility if the landfill is reaching its capability limit at the end of the year, but the county still has an estimated site life of more than 40 years based on current volumes, Disbrow said.

“Every vehicle is weighed at the scale house prior to disposal to allow the facility to track the amount of municipal solid waste accepted at the facility,” Disbrow said. “We monitor the disposal volumes of municipal solid waste on a monthly basis to ensure that we do not exceed this annual volume.”

DeKalb County finance director Peter Stefan said at the start of the year, waste collection was well below 2016 figures. Through the month of March, tonnage was about 16 percent lower than through the same period in 2016, he said.

“It was in the summer and fall when things picked up,” Stefan said.

Collections continued to grow through 2017 and peaked in November, when the landfill collected more than 51,000 tons of municipal solid waste.

Nonhazardous special waste, such as uncontaminated soil from special construction projects or sludge from sewage treatment plants, however, managed to come in well below the 200,000-ton cap set in May by the DeKalb County Board. The decision did not increase the size of the site but was expected to improve compaction in the landfill because of the materials’ density. This, in turn, could improve the landfill’s site life.

There were about 48,900 tons of special waste in 2017. The highest monthly intake was in July, when the landfill took in more than 14,000 tons of special waste. The remaining monthly collections averaged about 3,100 tons.

The county is paid by the ton for use of the landfill. In 2010, the County Board voted to allow Waste Management to take in 500,000 tons of waste annually at the landfill, which had meant an extra $4.76 a ton for the county.

In 2017, monthly revenues were between about $156,000 and $260,000. In total, waste collections led to more than $2.5 million in revenue for the year.

In 2014, the county increased the amount of waste the landfill takes in daily, and ultimately, the amount of revenue the county generates, by approving an additional 500 tons of trash a day on top of its current rate of about 300 tons a day. This decision was made to provide more revenue to the construction of the DeKalb County Jail. The increase will bring in about $70,000 a month for the project.

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