February 2, 2006
Lebanon's clean up costs associated with the old city-county landfill have ballooned by some $800,000 based on a consultant's estimates, though one official says part of the overrun was anticipated.
"There weren't any mess ups with the original estimates, there was just more waste found than expected," Lebanon Public Works Commissioner Jeff Baines said.
Nearly half of the additional cost – about $400,000 – resulted from "leachate seep" outbreaks not observed during an earlier inspection of the site, located adjacent to the current county landfill.
A letter from consultant Gresham Smith and Partners also informed the city that "landfill remediation" will cost an additional $395,382 after more waste "cells" were found.
Baines said despite increased costs, he remains confident in the consultants.
"When you're working underground, you don't really know exactly what's under there until you get down there," he said. "You can take sample and do estimates, but you still don't know what you're dealing with until you open it up."
Monitoring will tack another $25,000 onto the final price tag of the landfill clean up, already estimated earlier by some officials at up to $1 million.
In addition, the city will pay $213,000 for work at a mulch, compost and sludge facility near Interstate 40 which drew the attention of state environmental investigators last year when dead animals were found at the site, resulting in its temporary closure.
The cleanup of the former dump site has occasionally led to tensions between city officials and their county counterparts, who found themselves forced to split the cost of cleanup after seeking differing solutions to solid waste problems several years ago.
Baines noted "nobody who is in either the city or the county government now had anything to do" with plans that led to the landfill's closing and, ultimately, to its cleanup as required by state and federal regulations.
Baines said the bulk of the clean-up project is actually simple despite the myriad of regulations governing it.
"Basically it's just a matter of moving and capping waste," he said. "It's not rocket science, there's just a lot there to have to work with."
The city's public works committee was told of the consultant's findings last week and its finance committee is expected to consider funding for the additional work at its next meeting, the public works commissioner said.
Baines said city councilors and others have been warned in the past that the price tag for the cleanup could increase.
"In a sense we're not looking at anything we weren't expecting from day one," he said. "We felt like there would be some more costs, and I know that I've told members of the committee more than once that everything we've been working with on it has been based on estimates. It's frustrating and I hate it, but hopefully we're getting a better handle on it."
Senior Staff Writer Brooks Franklin can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 14 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Landfill clean-up costs soar
February 2, 2006