Bedford County officials are continuing to look at options for dealing with solid waste before the Bedford County Landfill reaches its storage capacity.

The Bedford County Board of Supervisors went into closed session during its meeting Monday night to discuss responses to a Request for Proposals issued for solid waste transportation and disposal services.

Bedford County Administrator Robert Hiss said the contracts are scheduled to be considered during the board’s Dec. 9 meeting. Hiss said — if approved — the contract will allow Bedford County to take solid waste to a landfill outside the county during the $2.7 million expansion and renovation of the Bedford County Transfer Station at 1060 Recycle Road.

“The first step is deciding where our trash will go,” Hiss said. “The next step is expanding the transfer station.”

County officials have been searching for a solution since a survey determined the Bedford County Landfill only had about two years of storage capacity left, about six years sooner than previously thought.

A survey conducted in June of 2018 by Midlothian-based SCS Engineers concluded the Bedford County Landfill had an additional six to eight years before the county would have to look at expanding the landfill or transferring its waste to a landfill outside of Bedford County. However, a second survey conducted in January by Blacksburg-based design and planning firm Draper Aden Associates concluded the previous estimate was not accurate.

According to staff reports, the county has to modify the current transfer station in Bedford County so trash can be transported to another landfill while the county expands the existing landfill, which will take an estimated five years. County officials also can consider closing the landfill and transporting waste to another landfill permanently.

In May, county officials began discussions with the Region 2000 Services Authority to transport 15,000 tons of solid waste to the Livestock Road Regional Landfill in Campbell County each year for five years. In September, the four-member authority voted to reject Bedford County’s offer, citing concerns that accepting out-of-service-area waste from Bedford County would shorten the lifespan of the landfill in Campbell County.

Hiss said county staff received multiple responses to the RFP issued in May and would consider one of the proposals in December.

Hiss said county officials still have to decide long-term plans for what the county will do with its solid waste after the Bedford County Landfill runs out of space.

“We still have to make some decisions about the future of the landfill,” Hiss said. “We will be having some discussions this winter about what we want to do.”

Hiss said county staff is conducting a study on cost estimates for permanently transporting solid waste outside Bedford County or expanding the landfill for continued use.

“We are trying to come up with various options for the board to consider,” Hiss said. “We hope to have a plan in place by the summer of 2020.”

District 6 Supervisor Andy Dooley said he was in favor of expanding the landfill.

“We are currently planning to expand the county’s transfer station and we are also in the process of getting contracts for moving trash to other localities while we ready our landfill,” Dooley said. “I support maintaining our current landfill and trash collection process. If we move away from the current system, all county residents will have to pay for trash removal. I don’t think our residents will support that.”

District 6 Supervisor-elect Bob Davis said he would be in favor of exploring different options rather than expanding the current landfill.

“We must find a solution that makes sense,” Davis said. “At some point, we must face the reality that disposing of municipal solid waste in landfills is impractical and may use up valuable real estate that could otherwise be used for a more useful purpose.”

District 1 Supervisor Bill Thomasson said the results of the study should be considered before any long-term decision is made.

“I think we need to wait and see what the cost of each option will be to our citizens,” Thomasson said. “What else can we do? We shouldn’t vote on anything before we know what it will cost and what best benefits the citizens of Bedford County.”

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Shannon Keith covers Bedford County for The News & Advance. Reach him at (434) 385-5530.

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