Waste Management wins Gary trash contract
By Carole Carlson email@example.com/648-3154 July 23, 2012 5:18PM
New GSD director
Daniel F. Vicari, the environmental engineer who’s overseeing the Ralston Lagoon cleanup, is the new executive director of the Gary Sanitary District. He starts his new job July 30.
The Gary Sanitary District board appointed Vicari at its July 9 meeting. He was out of town Monday and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson has been acting as the GSD’s director since she took office, under an agreement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Since 1986, the GSD has been operating under a federal consent decree when it agreed to clean up the toxic sludge lagoon near the Indiana Toll Road and Gary/Chicago International Airport.
As an engineer for CDM Smith, Vicari has been overseeing the $66.6 million cleanup for the past year.
Updated: August 25, 2012 6:11AM
GARY — Waste Management will pick up trash in the city for the next five years, under a contract approved by the Gary Sanitary District board Monday. The bigger unanswered question is, where will the trash go?
It could end up being processed into energy in Gary, in a project akin to the proposed trash-to-ethanol venture in Schneider.
The city is expected to entertain its own waste-to-energy proposals within the month, said Bo Kemp, a special consultant for the city who analyzed the trash bids submitted by Waste Management and Republic Services.
He said the city hasn’t written off sending its trash to a proposed $300 million bio-ethanol plant in Schneider, but would prefer having direct control of the process in Gary.
Last week, Mayor Karen Freeman Wilson met with Earl Powers of Powers Energy, the company that wants to open the bio-ethanol plant in Schneider, but she said the city hasn’t made a commitment to take trash there.
“We’re looking to make sure it’s financially beneficial to the city and Gary plays a governance role,” said Kemp. “Schneider falls short.”
Meanwhile, Kemp said final contract details with Waste Management still need to be ironed out and a public forum will be held next month to outline the cost impact to residents.
Waste Management submitted a $23.3 million bid, but its representative, Kevin Boyce, said the final figure will be lower because it won’t be collecting recyclables and yard waste. Its landfill is in Monticello, while Republic Services’ landfill is closer, in Newton County.
Boyce said Waste Management began transitioning away from landfills and is embracing new waste-to-energy technology. The company could be linked to one of the proposals the city will receive for a waste-to-energy operation.
Republic Services will continue to pick up trash in Gary through a transition period that could extend until the end of the year, Kemp said.
He said Waste Management agreed to criteria proposed by the city that included improved service, a willingness to let the city take back its trash collection in the future, and a pledge to bring new jobs to the city. Waste Management also agreed to let the city direct where its trash would go. Republic Services would not agree to that proposal, Kemp said.