Pitkin County Landfill operations to go out to bid

Rick Carroll
The Aspen Times

An outside firm has operated the Pitkin County Landfill since 1999, but commissioners agreed Tuesday to put a contract up for bid next month.

Pitkin County paid nearly $2.2 million in 2014 to Heartland Environmental Services, the firm that operates the landfill. Its contract expires in February 2016.

Public Works Director Brian Pettet and Cathy Hall, the county’s solid-waste manager, said putting out a request for proposals would create a level playing field for competing companies and assure a quality product and transparent process. Commissioner agreed with a 5-0 informal vote taken at the work session.

The request-for-proposals process will kick off Feb. 2. Contract negotiations would be held April 27 through May 30, and the county administration will determine the operator by June. The contract would be effective for 10 years, with an option for two five-year extensions.

The landfill, meanwhile, has roughly 20 to 30 years remaining before it shuts down.

Commissioner Michael Owsley said it might suit the county to look at the possible creation of a regional landfill with the likes of Eagle and Garfield counties. That’s a possibility, Pettet said.

“I think it’s long term and the county should be striving for the most efficient mode of operation … with a vision of the future looking at it regionally,” he said.

Pettet added, “I think we’ve got a good thing going right now balanced with the future and knowing that the landfill will close.”

The landfill operator’s responsibilities include “filling of waste, grinding construction and demolition debris, screening compost and soil products, dust control of landfill access roads, aggregate processing and handling and various landfill construction and maintenance activities as assigned and coordinated by the solid-waste manager,” a county memo says.

One advantage Heartland has, should it decide to place a bid to continue operating the site, is that its equipment is already intact. Commissioner Patti Clapper asked if the county has considered operating the landfill in-house rather than farming it out.

Pettet said that likely wouldn’t be feasible because of the equipment it would need to purchase and extra staff it would need to take on the operations.


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