Espanola trucking company awarded contract*

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By Jennifer Garcia

The planned Los Alamos County Eco Station moved one step closer to becoming a reality on Tuesday night during the County Council meeting in White Rock, when Environmental Manager Regina Wheeler presented a motion to council suggesting approval for a contract for general services with Salazar Trucking Co., Inc. in Espaola. Councilor Berting moved to approve the motion, which was seconded by Councilor West. After a vote, the motion passed 5-0.

The contract between the two entities would allow Salazar Trucking to provide transportation for solid waste and contract for general services, with Waste Management of New Mexico for Solid Waste Disposal Services in a form acceptable to the county attorney.

According to county documents, the Eco Station is scheduled to open in January of next year and approximately 22,000 tons per year of waste will be hauled from that facility to a regional landfill for disposal. Proposals for solid waste transportation and disposal services were solicited in July of this year.

Proposals were evaluated on the basis of the combined cost for transportation and disposal or "system cost." Waste Management, Inc. provided the lowest system cost proposal for disposal services at their two regional facilities, Valencia County Regional Landfill and the Rio Rancho Landfill. Salazar Trucking Co., Inc. provided the lowest cost proposal for transportation services. "Our preference was to contract with a relatively small trucking company. We can bring waste to either or neither landfill," Wheeler said.

Wheeler said that she is working on securing a third landfill option; Caja del Rio Landfill in Santa Fe. "The costs come out extremely competitively. Consumer Price Index, fuel surcharges and how much trash is in each truck will affect prices in time," she said. "We'll then decide which landfills we'll use. The amount we'll spend annually will be presented in the budget," she continued.

During the meeting, Councilor Michael Wheeler asked Wheeler what kind of trucks Salazar Trucking would use to haul the solid waste. "They are semi-trailers with 132 cubic yards, and metal slats called walking floor trailers," Wheeler responded. Councilor Wheeler then asked how many trucks would be used per day. "Five on an average day, and 10 on a peak day," Wheeler said. Councilor Wheeler seemed surprised at the estimate. "If the trash doesn't move, we're in trouble," she added.

Councilor Ken Milder asked Wheeler how many standard truckloads would fit into one of the semi-trailers. "26 tons, heavy-loaded. They hold four times the volume, but not the same volume as the packer trucks. They will hold three-and-a-half (standard) truckloads compacted full," Wheeler said.

Councilor Jim West wanted to know what LANL's solid waste volume is. "The lab brings in 2,000 tons of garbage. We also take in a lot of construction garbage," she said. "The lab pays fees like everyone else," she added.

According to the proposal, the combined cost for transportation and disposal will be approximately $39-$45 per ton for the first year, depending on load weights. This cost falls within the budgeted amount for hauling and disposal in FY09 and FY10.