EATON — Preble County Engineer Kyle Cross provided the Preble County Board of Commissioners with his monthly update on the landfill, recycling and sewer districts during their Wednesday, Aug. 12 meeting.
He began by providing an update on recycling in Lakengren and alerting the commissioners to a potential issue.
“The first recycling dumpsters were placed at Lakengren yesterday. The remainder of them will either be replaced tomorrow or next Tuesday. We had an issue with dumping over the weekend at Farmer’s Market and Beth [Wright] was not so kindly told that they needed to be gone immediately,” he said. “So, we originally had planned on putting two dumpsters at Lakengren with the assumption we still had three at Farmer’s Market. So, working with them, we’re going to increase that to four at Lakengren and remove the three from Farmer’s Market.”
He explained that the issues had to do with the recycling bins being located near storage units, and when people clean those out it can cause contamination inside the recycling bins.
“Well, I’d like people to realize that if there is – and we’ve had abuses in the past, we will have no other choice but to remove them,” Commissioner Denise Robertson said. “We can’t – because as soon as they’re contaminated, they become cost. I mean, they’re already a cost for the county, but then they’re not recyclable. They are contaminated.”
However, she did add that she can’t thank Lakengren enough for their cooperation and willingness to work with the county.
“Where they’ve landed on final locations, they’re going to put the first set of them that were placed yesterday by the tennis courts, which are just kind of over the hill from the pool, and the other ones are going to be placed down at the [Lakengren] Marina,” Cross said.
He said that those locations provide more accessibility and also have more cameras to monitor dumping.
“One thing that we are going to have to start thinking about on Sewer District 3 or gonna have to start planning for is with the school closure down there,” Cross said.
He said that Sewer District 3, with 91 users, had 21 delinquent bills certified on taxes. About half of those 21 paid their sewer bills with tax settlements.
“The elephant in the room with this thing is the school down there is that roughly 30 percent of the revenue that we take in is from that school itself,” he said. “We do have a bond issue that’s going to be retired at the end of the year. We are going to have to look at what we need to do rate-wise down there to keep that thing operational with that much of it being lost.”
“So people that can’t afford their current bills [are] going to go up?” Commissioner Rodney Creech asked.
“That’s kind of where I was headed with it,” Cross responded. “When you’ve got roughly 10 percent delinquent now, if you try to find a way to – the reality is the sewer districts are set up to break even. What the sewer bills cover is just the basic cost of treatment, the cost of the facility, amortized over the life of whatever funding has been taken out to install them and then along with the operation. We’re going to have to probably be creative on figuring out a way to not get overly aggressive with increasing those rates.”
The number of users is determined by comparing the school’s usage to the number equivalent homes, and Cross said that the number they came up with is a single-home equivalence of 34 for the school.
Commissioner Creech asked why the cost would not still be on the school or whoever the building gets sold to, and Cross said that the current numbers would have to be reevaluated due to fewer people now being present in the building.
“If it’s a half or a third of what capacity it’s currently being used at, I don’t think we’re going to be able to force that same rate on it because it’s the same building where it’s been based off of occupancy,” Cross said.
Cross began by detailing waste numbers from the year-to-date.
“Big takeaways from that, through the end of July, total tonnage was 2500 tons year-to-date above what we were [in] 2019,” he said. “The leachate, we’re at 737,000 gallons less than we were through end of July last year.”
He then explained that work was done to remove a surface water pipe and connect the leachate collection system underneath the new 2A/2C landfill cell to the existing leachate system. Once they receive certification from the EPA they will begin placing waste in the cell.
Leachate numbers are also going to increase over the next couple months, Cross said, because roughly eight acres of collection area are being added and that because of water that has collected in the protective layer of sand, it will have to drain over the next couple months.
“We’re probably going to see a spike in the leachate numbers but it’s going to be rainwater that was trapped in that sand, so it’s it’s classified leachate because it’s going into the system but it’s not been contaminated by the trash,” he said.
Work will be done soon to construct the road leading to the 2A/2C, and once the certification report comes back from the EPA, they will begin placing waste in the new cell.
The Preble County Board of Commissioners meet every Monday and Wednesday at 9 a.m. in the Preble County Courthouse. These meetings are open to the public.
Reach Braden Moles at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @BradenMoles