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County trash to take longer trip

Taylor landfill stops taking garbage from Luzerne County to comply with plan.

WILKES-BARRE – Alliance Sanitary Landfill in Taylor will no longer accept trash from Luzerne County as it enforces the county’s plan on where waste must be dumped.

Starting Monday haulers will have to travel 10 miles farther north to Dunmore or south to Hegins to comply, said Andrew Gegaris Jr., director of the Luzerne County Solid Waste Management department.

His office issued a letter to Alliance on Jan. 4 after landfill officials contacted the department about the county’s 10-year solid waste management in effect through the end of 2011.

“It’s actually enforcement of existing law,” Gegaris said Tuesday.

How long Alliance accepted the trash in violation of the plan and how much in fees the county lost could not be determined. Luzerne County receives a $1-per-ton fee for trash dumped at the Keystone Sanitary Landfill in Dunmore or the Commonwealth Environmental Systems site in Hegins, Gegaris said.

Alliance spokesman John Hambrose said he was unaware of the landfill turning away haulers of Luzerne County trash in the nearly six years he has been on the job. The landfill was conducting an administrative review recently when it discovered it was not a designated dumping site.

“As soon as we became aware of it we contacted the county,” Hambrose said.

The landfill did not pay the $1-per-ton fee to the county.

“We welcome the opportunity to discuss that or any other issue with the county,” he said

The extent of the dumping accounted for a small part of the landfill’s intake during the fourth quarter of 2007, according to figures provided by Hambrose.

Alliance received 1,907.5 tons in the fourth quarter which was 1.8 percent of all trash received during that time period.

The county’s trash was delivered in 1,485 loads, averaging about 1.3 tons each. The deliveries were made by small businesses and residential customers who drive up with pickups trucks loaded with trash.

Hambrose said Alliance has contacted its known Luzerne County haulers. The other haulers who show up expecting to dump trash from the county will be turned away on Jan. 28.

Haulers are aware of the county’s plan, or “they should be,” said Gegaris. The landfill is responsible for keeping Luzerne County trash out, he added.

“If they accept, they’re in violation of the plan” and could be subject to penalties, Gegaris said.

The county is taking the right step with the letter, said Mark Carmon, a spokesman for the state Department of Environmental Protection.

“It sounds like they’re self-policing it, which is what you want,” Carmon said.

Information for trash haulers

John Hambrose, spokesman for the Alliance Sanitary Landfill, said trash haulers can contact him about the landfill’s enforcement of the Luzerne County Solid Waste Management Plan at 570-562-1600, extension 244.

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