City to Begin Charging County to Treat Landfill Waste Water, May Sell Sewer Sludge
Cortland County is facing a $150 thousand dollar unexpected expense next year, the City of Cortland has informed the County it intends to begin charging to process contaminated water from the county landfill at the City Waste Water Treatment Plant.
According to a letter from City Mayor Brian Tobin to county officials, as of May 1st the city plans to end its current agreement with the county and begin charging to process leachate.
Right now the county and city have a no fee agreement in place where the county brings leachate from the landfill to the city for treatment and disposal and the city takes sludge form the waste water pant to the landfill. The agreement has been in place for many years.
City Administrator Mack Cook says the city has been reviewing the byproducts of the waste water plant. Cook says the city has the potential to generate up to $200 thousand dollars a year selling the sludge to a compositing company in Bath, New York. Cook says it will turn a waste product into a revenue stream for the city. Cook also points out that the city is making major investments in the treatment plant and this is an opportunity to offset those costs.
County Administrator Martin Murphy says the new charge was not included in the 2014 budget which was approved last night. Murphy says the county will have to absorb the cost increase.
Murphy says it will be an expense in the near term, but going forward he expects the cost to drop as the county takes steps at the landfill that will decrease the amount of leachate being generated at the landfill. One of the measures is capping a cell at the landfill that is full, closing that cell will result in less rain water running through the cell resulting in less leachate.
County Legislative Chair Mike Park was disappointed with the city’s decision; Park says it serves as one more reason why the county should move ahead with the solid waste partnership with Onondaga County. If the county dumps ash in the landfill it will produce less leachate which means less leachate to treat at the waste water plant.
Lawmakers are expected to discuss the change at the next solid waste meeting in January.