Baltimore and Harford counties have struck a deal on trash collection they say will benefit taxpayers in both places.
Beginning next year, a Baltimore County contractor will take Harford County paper, plastic and other recyclables to a single-stream recycling facility in Cockeysville, which could generate $60,000 a month for Baltimore County. And in 2016, Harford County trash collectors will deliver garbage to Baltimore County's Eastern Sanitary Landfill near White Marsh, where it will then be shipped to an out-of-state landfill.
The agreement, approved by the Harford County Council this month, follows controversy in the Joppa area over the possibility of Harford County building a new transfer station there. Officials say it will help Harford avoid that scenario, which was opposed by many residents.
For years, Harford County has burned trash at the Harford Waste-to-Energy Facility at Aberdeen Proving Ground, generating steam for the Edgewood area of APG. But the Army plans to end that practice in 2016. At the same time, the Harford Waste Disposal Center landfill in northern Harford County is reaching capacity.
"We were faced with a number of challenges," said Tim Whittie, director of Harford County's public works department.
As part of the new deal, Harford will cover the costs of building a new transfer station for Baltimore County, according to Baltimore County public works chief Ed Adams. Officials estimate that will cost about $8 million.
Adams said Harford County's trash would be shipped to out-of-state landfills — not added to the county landfill.
"The trash [from Harford County] will not be coming into our landfill," he said. "Baltimore County under no circumstances will be subsidizing the cost of Harford County's trash. If anything, we'll make a little bit of money off it."
Starting in 2016, Harford County will pay Baltimore County a per-ton fee — which has not yet been determined — to have Baltimore County's hauling contractor accept its garbage at the Eastern Sanitary Landfill transfer station and take it to an out-of-state landfill.
By partnering with Harford, Baltimore County hopes to get a better deal with trash haulers in the future, because rates could decrease with more volume, Adams said.
Baltimore County officials have estimated that the county's new recycling facility in Cockeysville could generate $200,000 a month. Adding Harford County's recyclables could bring in another $60,000 a month in revenue, finance officials estimate, though they emphasized that market prices fluctuate.
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