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The Elk County Solid Waste Authority is set to recommend that the Elk County Commissioners approve parting ways with ECS&R, the company the county has contracted with since 2006 for universal and household hazardous waste (HHW) collections, after Veolia submitted a significantly lower bid for the same services.
According to Bekki Titchner, Elk County recycling/solid waste coordinator, the county stands to save around $5,000 by contracting with Veolia.
Veolia and ECS&R were the only two companies to submit bids for the services.
"The request for proposal was for the ongoing collection that we have of fluorescent lamps, batteries, oil-based paint, and pesticides, as well as the once-a-year household hazardous waste collection," Titchner said.
While noting that ECS&R has been a "wonderful" company to work with, Titchner explained that the company was simply unable to match Veolia's offer.
"It was a big enough of a difference that we really would be foolish not to change contractors," Titchner said.
After both bids were received, they were compared based on the amount of material the authority processed in the past year and those numbers were compared.
"If you extrapolate it out, there is about close to a $5,000 difference. I did talk to ECS&R a little bit, and the big difference is the price per lamp. ECS&R said that the price Veolia is charging was a price that they couldn't even match for themselves. It costs them more to recycle it than Veolia was going to charge us per lamp," Titchner said.
Based on the bids comparison provided by the authority, the cost for ECS&R to dispose of five- to eight-foot straight fluorescent bulbs would be $1.10 each, while it would only be $0.52 each through Veolia. Additionally, the cost for ECS&R to dispose of four-foot and smaller fluorescent bulbs would be $0.55 each while Veolia would only charge $0.26 each. The authority received 2,416 five- to eight-foot straight fluorescent bulbs and 6,042 four-foot straight fluorescent bulbs in 2011.
"ECS&R have been great guys to work with, but the disparity is pretty big, even with half of it being reimbursed through the state," Titchner said.
Still, she noted that while Veolia's bid provides a greater overall savings, there are still some line items, such as the charge for universal waste pickup, where ECS&R offered a better deal. ECS&R would only charge $150 per pickup, while Veolia's charge would be $550. The authority had three universal waste pickups in 2011.
Pick up a copy of the Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012 edition of The Ridgway Record for more.
Elk County Solid Waste Authority
Date: Tuesday, March 27
Time: 4:30 p.m.
Place: Elk County Courthouse Annex, Conference Room #2