By Heather Clower
The Parsons Advocate
Executive Director of the Tucker County Landfill Jodie Alderman outlined the plan to purchase needed equipment for the facility, as well as discussed the driver situation. “What we’ve mainly been focusing on at this time is our primary excavator, our machine that we use for loading all of our daily cover material, it currently has 17,000 hours on it, which is an extreme amount of hours on a piece of equipment that size,” he began. Even though that piece of machinery is still operable, the goal is to obtain a replacement for the daily use tasks while keeping the current one as a backup machine. “Also our 30 ton rock truck that we use to haul all of our daily cover material, it’s in the range of about 14,000 hours on it, and it’s currently got to the point to where it’s at the age to where some of the parts are discontinued,” Alderman continued.
He explained that doesn’t mean you can’t keep the truck running, however what would typically be a two day repair can turn into a three week endeavor. The D6T Cat dozer, which is used to spread the daily cover and will be used to compact the trash of the first four foot layer on the new cell, has been giving the workers the most trouble, though it only has around 10,000 hours. Alderman explained that if that piece of equipment becomes inoperable while they are in the new cell, there will be nothing usable to work trash within the new cell.
Alderman stated that the goal is to work through John Deere or Caterpillar that do the source well contract through the state bidding contract. This prevents the time consuming process of advertising and accepting sealed bids for these purchases. So far, quotes have been received from Leslie Equipment on John Deere and Cleveland Brothers for the Caterpillars, which were included in the board’s packets. He stated that the Cat dozer with the trash well compact unit, which is necessary for this type of work, would roughly cost $430,000 on the source well contract. The John Deere version of this equipment, which boasted more horsepower and a better compacting package, quoted in at approximately $342,000, which also could be acquired much quicker than the Cat. Lowther made the motion to approve the purchase of the John Deere dozer with a second by Board Member Diane Hinkle. The vote was unanimously in favor. Maintenance plans will be considered for this piece of machinery.
Alderman wasn’t only interested in brand new equipment, but they had to have fewer than two or three thousand hours, in good condition, and still under warranty. They also had to qualify for the source well contract purchasing agreement to be considered.
Referring to the excavator, Alderman found a deal on a 300 G John Deere that was recently brought back in, off of a lease, and was getting ready to be put back out. “This is a machine that, brand new under the source well packet, was $260 some thousand dollars, we were able to purchase that machine for $170,000.” This piece has everything the landfill needs and the price will include delivery to the site as well as training for the employees. For fear of losing the offer, the landfill went forward with purchasing this machine but wished to receive insight on setting up maintenance programs on the equipment.
Discussion commenced on the benefits of engaging in the maintenance programs offered from Caterpillar and John Deere both monetarily as well as for the benefit of the machinery. By doing the maintenance in house, it would save roughly $1,000 per service, however it would not be as detailed and thorough due to what the certified technicians would do through this program. Board member Chris Lowther, who works on and around equipment on nearly a daily basis, stated, “I think it’s a valuable tool, I think any of the extra programs like that that Cat or John Deere has, it’s worth the money.” Lowther made a motion to approve the maintenance agreement on the excavator with SWA Vice President Dennis Filler making a second. All members voted in favor.
Quotes for the rock truck followed beginning with the John Deere that is currently being leased by the landfill for their use. John Deere has offered 100% of the rent that has been paid thus far for its use towards the purchase of the truck, “So we can actually buy that for $264,800,” said Alderman, if done by October 9. This truck does not have a heated bed for wintertime use, which would require sending the truck back in for that unit to be installed for $5,000. Lowther commented that he operated both Caterpillar and John Deere rock trucks in the same area as the landfill in the wintertime, and unfortunately bed heaters did not make a difference, but the materials hauled were 40 to 50% moisture.
A new John Deere truck 310E priced at $388,000 and a new Caterpillar is over $400,000 at the same speculations. To add the block and bed heater to the current truck on lease to purchase prior to October 9, the cost would be $270,300. If this truck is purchased, Alderman asked John Deere to go over the truck and ensure a few concerns of the driver are addressed and make sure there are no issues and if so, those issues be taken care of prior to purchase. Filler made a motion to purchase the rock truck in addition to the block and bed heater pending inspection with a second by Lowther. All were in approval. Holstine ensured that Alderman has worked with Ray Kellar to ensure all of these purchases fall within the budget, which he confirmed it does.
The minutes from the July meeting of the Tucker County Solid Waste Authority were approved with a motion by Lowther and a second by Hinkle to begin the October meeting of the SWA.
Landfill Office Manager Carol Helmick began with board reports stating, “Our tonnage was down in August by 595.7 ton, and down from last fiscal year by 285.6 ton.” Petersburg is still not bringing their debris to the Tucker County Landfill, only their sludge, which is one aspect of the decrease. Acting Chair of the SWA Mark Holstine suggested to Executive Director of the Landfill Jodie Alderman that a phone call be made to determine if they will be returning in the near future. Filler asked how their landfill rates are in relation to others with Holstine replying, “We are the second highest rate for a public landfill through the state, we are the second largest public landfill in the state,” adding that others are between $42 to $47 per ton. There are transfer stations in the area that are over $70 per ton, which is far more expensive than Tucker’s tonnage fee.
Helmick continued with the leachate being down 56,815 gallon from the month prior with 19 loads going to Moorefield and 37 to Westernport, Md. “Our costs for treatment last month alone were $8,663.13,” she added. Directing attention to accounts receivable, the landfill has collected about half thus far for September with all but one being collected that was over 90 days past due.
The accounts payable also experienced a decrease since the last meeting. “We paid Radabaugh off completely, he was one of our past due, and we’ve got Cleveland Brothers down to $65,000, so we’re getting there,” Helmick said. The gross profit was $258,318.91, landfill expenses at $128,680.92, and administrative expenses $14,498.40, leaving $115,139.59 for operating income. “After we paid out the tonnage, our net income was $84,582.58,” Helmick said. Hinkle asked for clarification on the difference in depreciation values from last year to now, with Helmick and Holstine explaining that items were significantly overvalued or some items that values were placed on no longer exist. A new figure will be evaluated soon with the number increasing as new equipment is purchased by Alderman.
An amount of $186,206.39 was left in the operating account at the end of the month and $37,698.46 was paid toward the escrow account with $12,222.22 being paid back against the borrowed escrow into the closure account. The construction escrow account from Miners and Merchants Bank is now completely closed out with a new account being opened in the days to come with Grant County Bank. The deposits and billing statements were reviewed by the board along with the P-Card statements.
Holstine continued the executive director’s report stating that an agreement has been met with the Public Service Commission and the Grant County Bank on the language of the new escrow agreement for the construction and equipment escrow. The PSC has already executed their side of the agreement with Holstine doing the part of the SWA in the near future.
Alderman also wanted to draw attention to future plans to address the daily cover issue, which will require contact with the Department of Environmental Protection. He provided information on a proposal tarp deployment system that he requests the board members take home to review prior to the next meeting.
The earth work within the new cell is still ahead of schedule with the synthetic liner ready to be installed soon. A leachate collection system is at the bottom of the cell that will then transport the leachate to the pond where it is collected and hauled out for treatment. “There’s also a detection system under your liner that is there to tell you if your liner is being breached,” Holstine said. “The detection lines coming out of cell 7A, which is our current active cell, has suspected leachate in them,” he continued. Conversations from past employees indicated that the liner may have been breached at some point in the past. “That old cell luckily had two synthetics in the design, so the top synthetic liner was breached, detection is between the two synthetics thank goodness,” Holstine said. “What we had to do is come up with a way to make sure we capture the leachate coming out of those detection lines because they’re perforated, so if they get full they leak,” he explained. Holstine has been working with the consultant and DEP to come up with a plan which has changed the way the new liner is tied into the old liner to prevent any leachate from seeping into the ground water. “With all of the other pertinences that we have to pick up, it just creates some issues as you go up the ridges,” he continued. “It is going to run into some cost overrun on the contract, there will have to be change orders, I don’t think any of them are going to be of any major magnitude,” Holstine said, but it is a necessity that he will bring the cost to the board as it is tallied.
“DEP has also brought up some legacy permitting issues, there’s some things in the permit that were not ever constructed that DEP is now wanting to hold us responsible to get installed,” Holstine continued which includes flow meetings on every collection line, and outlet latitude and longitude corrections to name a few. Holstine has been in conversation with the DEP with hopes to include these corrections in the permit renewal in spring of 2020 instead of multiple minor modifications.
The by-law corrections have not yet been made; therefore the revisions will be presented at the next meeting. With no public comment, the SWA moved into scheduling their next monthly meeting, which will be held Tuesday, October 20 at 3 p.m. at the Tucker County Courthouse, barring court is not scheduled for that time.