A clause in the 2020 Landfill Franchise Agreement (FA) between Republic Services and Benton County is worded such that if any expansion onto the property south of Coffin Butte Road zoned LS (“Landfill Site”) is granted, the tonnage cap (the limit to how much garbage can be emplaced per year) goes away.
• The 2020 Landfill Franchise Agreement defined an intake limit (the “tonnage cap”) of 1.1M (1,100,000) Tons/year.
• This intake limit is eliminated if any landfill expansion is approved for the parcel South of Coffin Butte Road (the “Expansion Parcel”).
Intake volume history:
• Large increase (73%) in 2016-2017 demonstrates the capability for significant year-over-year intake increases.
• All recent years except for 2020 (the year the current franchise agreement was being negotiated) show a continued upward trend.
• The Intake limit defined in the 2000 Franchise Agreement is shown in blue for historical reference. This limit was violated for years 2017 – 2019.
• The intake limit defined in the 2020 Franchise Agreement is shown in dashed red.
• 2022 volume is estimated to hit the intake limit of 1.1M Tons/year based on the first half 2022 filings with DEQ.
• Recent trend shows high demand for landfill volume.
- The landfill franchisee is not constrained in the geographic area from which Coffin Butte waste is allowed to be sourced. This source/origin control was given up by Benton County in the 2000 Landfill Franchise Agreement.
- The 2020 Franchise Agreement contains no penalty clause and there are no consequences for Republic Services’ exceedance of the annual tonnage limit contained in the Franchise Agreement. Further, Republic Services has exceeded prior tonnage limits in earlier Franchise Agreements (see graph above) and Benton County has not taken any action to enforce those limits.
- Coffin Butte is the only Republic Services landfill in the state, so they have a strong profit motive to deposit collected waste from a wide area into Coffin Butte.
With expansion approval, the elimination of the intake limit could have several ramifications:
- Based on recent volumes indicating significant demand for landfill volume, the intake would likely quickly rise above the current 1.1 M Tons/year.
- With no intake limit, Republic Services would have strong business and profit incentive to expand the service (collection) area feeding into Coffin Butte, potentially increasing volumes significantly.
- Intake volumes could increase 50%, 100%, or more – Benton County will have no control.
- Negative impacts to Benton County and its residents:
- Increased landfill truck traffic, road wear, roadside trash, vehicle accident risk
- Increased pollution risk due to higher total landfill volumes earlier than expected
- Increase in the volume of leachate produced
- Increased near-term methane emissions, odors and other toxic gasses
- Increased fire risk
- Depending on the size of the expansion approved and the magnitude of the intake volume increase, the useful operating life of the landfill could actually be reduced by expansion. For example, an expansion equal to 50% of current available volume would result in shorter landfill life if intake volumes increased by over 50%.