"The Green Path From Trash to Treasure," or: Why Dallas Now Wants All Your Garbage

Categories: City Hall
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Just a few days ago City Manager Mary Suhm explained why the city's seriously considering an ordinance that would demand all solid-waste collectors dump their trash at city-owned facilities, rather than one of the dozen other landfills in the region. Said Suhm, who'd proposed the idea last year without it getting very far, "Waste will be a resource because you can turn it into energy in the future. Do you want resources your community is producing going outside the community?"

Turns out, that's more or less the name of a briefing scheduled in front of the city council on Wednesday: "The Green Path from Trash to Treasure," which was posted last night.

Says the briefing, that methane-capturing system at the McCommas Bluff Landfill is providing around $1.6 million in revenue this year and enough fuel "to heat 25,000 homes each year." And given what the city says are plans to expand the landfill, why, that heap o' trash will only create more money and more energy for close to 100 years to come. So it only makes sense, says the city, to demand all waste-dumping take place either at McCommas or the Bachman Transfer Station. Says the briefing, "Half of Dallas' resource stream is flowing OUT of the city - don't let it go!"

Hence the presentation of the so-called "waste flow control" ordinance, which would keep all the trash within the city limits and make the city a guesstimated "$13m to $15m annually," according to the briefing.

Only, the National Solid Wastes Management Association, which doesn't want to be told where to dump, insists there are as many negative as positives -- among them an increase in traffic to the facilities and "a negative impact on efforts to develop Southern Dallas." And, they say, an ordinance like that is just damned hard to enforce. Even landfill manager Rick White is worried that using flow control to increase revenue isn't a good sell, telling city staffers in a November email that "in a city that used to take pride in being business friendly this might not fly as the primary reason to implement flow control."

From the looks of the briefing, the city manager's office considers flow control almost a done deal, with 2012 set for implementation.
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10 comments
Oneangryvoter
Oneangryvoter

A good reporter would ask how much the gas the city is selling is being sold for. You would be surprised that the sales are north of $10 million dollars. Sounds to me as if the city came out on the short end of the deal. Most other cities privatize their residential trash collection. The City of Dallas says it can't be done. Why not? Why can Fort Worth manage to privatize and save millions while Dallas can't. I agree it is time for a new Mayor and city council to demand accountability from Sanitation Services.

Harvey
Harvey

I don't if anyone here is old enough to remember when curbside recycling meant the homeowner would separate the plastics, paper, and such so it would be easier to process.  When that didn't work so well they came up with putting all the recyclable stuff into one container and have machines and experts sort it all out.

Eventually circumstances and advancements in thinking and technology will have it where very little of the stuff we throw out actually reaches the landfill itself.  Everything that can possibly be recycled will be removed.  Then the organics will be shuffled off to be composted and all that will be sent on to the landfill will be the stuff that belongs in the landfill.  When that happens the  trash business will be a serious income source.  Then it will be privatized, that's the American way.

SCamp
SCamp

Can we take our trash to a City Counsil or DISD meeting. Both seem to be a dumping ground for garbage.

Jim Bob Guthrie
Jim Bob Guthrie

Can't the next mayor choose a new city manager?  She's been ruling the roost for too long. 

Gregdallas
Gregdallas

At one time they were talking about a plant to extract methane from the sewer plant... It has been done at several other places around the world.  Ft. Worth is using the Methane from their trash to power some of the trash trucks that pick up trash..... or so i have heard.

Wylie H.
Wylie H.

How much longer does the public have to put up with Queen Mary Suhm's duplicitous hypocrisy?  This is the same woman who is trying to chase all the recycling businesses out of Dallas.  Now she wants to monopolize the processing of general waste and forbid taking it out of the city limits--- what the hell is she thinking????

Oh yeah, the metal recyclers are privately owned, therefore have to play by one set of rules.  The city dump, on the other hand, is publicly-owned, so they get to make the rules.

At least recycling is a sustainable business. The city dump, on the other hand, has finite capacity.... this proposed ordinance will result in the dump having a shorter useful life, meaning that any short-term benefit will result in long-term pain (this is a common theme with a lot of Queen Suhm's hair-brained schemes).

sheik yerbouti
sheik yerbouti

I thought the idea was to "use" the garbage to develop South Dallas.

Scruffygeist
Scruffygeist

Did she not watch all the way to the end of The Simpsons episode she got the idea from?

Montemalone
Montemalone

Yeah, but before it's full, we'll all have Mr. Fusion Reactors so the city will sell us back our garbage to power our flying Deloreans.

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