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Fri, Oct. 18

Community explores<br>future of trash service

The current provider of recycling services for Grand Canyon National Park expressed an interest in hauling trash and recyclables from Tusayan during a community meeting last week.

Squire Inn employee Maria Soriano tosses some trash away Friday in Tusayan. Community businesses have been exploring options concerning the future of trash service.

Lyle Garman, manager of operations for Norton Environmental out of Flagstaff, said his company would like to put together a proposal for trash services. At the same time, however, Garman expressed concern over trash tonnage produced in Tusayan.

"We need accurate volume numbers if we’re to put together a proposal for trash," Garman said at the Feb. 25 meeting at the Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn. In an effort to obtain those numbers, Garman distributed to those in attendance a questionnaire, which included questions about container sizes and numbers, trash collection frequency and pricing with the current hauler.

Garman’s presentation came during the second in a series of Tusayan meetings on trash hauling services. The meetings, designed to provide collective information for local businesses, are sponsored by the Grand Canyon Chamber of Commerce.

Each business in Tusayan holds individual contracts for trash hauling, but many of those will be expiring in June and July.

The meeting’s participants listened with great interest to Garman about the possibilities involving Norton, which emphasizes recycling, one of the community’s big priorities.

Norton took over Grand Canyon National Park’s recycling contract last fall. Businesses and individuals in the park can combine their recyclables in one bin, which eliminates sorting. Garman said the park "increased recycling 100 percent" and added that such an effort can reduce trash volume from 50 to 80 percent.

"We’re doing 40 to 50 tons per month on recycling," Garman said of the park program. "Crossover contamination is 3 percent in the park, the average is 12 percent."

In a letter to Greg Bryan, Norton’s Steven M. Viny said more than 300 new front-load containers were delivered to the park.

"There was no phase-in to this contract," Viny wrote. "We started at 100 percent capacity from day one and our program has dramatically increased the amount of recyclables removed from the park as compared to their previous hauler. Operationally, we are ready to service Tusayan’s recyclables now."

One of the Tusayan businesses on Norton’s route is Quality Inn and Suites. Tusayan Wastewater Treatment Plant superintendent Bob Petzoldt said the Quality Inn’s Ann Wren wanted to relay the message that she is saving a lot of money with recycling.

Garman said other Tusayan businesses can get on the route at any time on a first-come, first-served basis.

As far as a transfer station goes, Garman brought up the idea of leasing property from the South Grand Canyon Sanitary District.

"We could lease property and bring in a couple of transfer trailers — one for trash, one for recycling," Garman said. "We could park a truck up here and it would be neat and clean."

Garman said he had not yet contacted the sanitary district about such a proposal, but said he would need at least one acre. That space would accommodate two 53-foot trailers, a tractor and a dock area where the trailer backs up.

Garman further said bulk items would be no big issue. Folks could simply bring them to the transfer station and they could be put onto a trailer.

"We can put together something that’s cost-effective so everybody can save money," Garman said.

On the issue of bulk items, Petzoldt brought up another idea, which involved the sanitary district offering to do a pick up once a month and hauling to Flagstaff, which is a frequent destination anyway.

Waste Management, the current service provider for Tusayan, was also present at last week’s meeting for followup questions from the original Dec. 18 meeting, when that company faced various criticisms from business owners.

This time around, Waste Management received some kind words about improvements in service, but also ended up getting blasted again by representatives of two businesses. One complained about the company’s continued lack of response while another was disappointed to find out Waste Management could not provide any additional information on recycling options.

"We’re still evaluating doing subcontracting with Norton or bringing up our own containers for recycling," said Rob Seipp, sales manager. "We’re still in discussions at this time. Participation is a key factor."

Bryan reminded Waste Management that recycling was one of two big priorities for the community and expressed disappointment over Seipp’s vague responses on the issue. Seipp referred several questions to the company’s Pat Burke, who was not able to attend the meeting. The company’s Juanita Davis said Waste Management needs to have questions answered before it moves forward.

Waste Management met with the South Grand Canyon Sanitary District on Feb. 12 with various ideas. However, plant superintendent Petzoldt said he did not favor any of those plans.

Those ideas included the placement of a bailer on district property to handle cardboard, the placement of a roll-off container to handle the disposal of bulk items and the placement of additional containers for emergency use. Petzoldt had concerns over pricing, image and increasing his staff’s work load.

There was a conflict between the sanitary district and Waste Management over rent due on space leased for storage purposes. Board member John Quinn said that payment issue had been settled.

A couple businesses did say Waste Management had improved its service since the Dec. 18 meeting. A lot of concerns had revolved around the driver.

"Hopefully, you’ve seen an improvement in our service," Seipp said. "Our driver now carries a ticket book so if there are additional requests on site, he can do a ticket right there and perform the service. The driver also always stops and calls dispatch to see if there were any calls or requests before he leaves town."

The Squire Inn’s Ed Ramsey had kind words for the driver and Grand Canyon National Park Airport manager Russ Pankey said "we have no complaints with our contract, period."

The issue of automatic renewals with Waste Management was also raised. Although the various contracts having differing expiration dates, Davis said there is a three- to six-month window involving renewals.

Davis said contracts are automatically renewed for an additional 12 months unless Waste Management receives written notice 90 to 180 days prior to the end of the contract.

In other words, businesses wishing to not automatically renew must contact Waste Management three months before their contract expires.

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