County, National Firm Partner to Operate New Landfill, Transfer Station, Recycling Center

An overflow of trash is piled into a residential trash can in Waterloo, Iowa, Wednesday, June 10, 2009. (MATTHEW PUTNEY / Courier Photo Editor)

Larimer County has selected a private company to negotiate a public-private partnership agreement to operate its next landfill, transfer station, and recycling center.

The Board of Larimer County Commissioners at their regular Administrative Matters meeting Tuesday voted 3-0 to approve a Memorandum of Understanding between Larimer County and Republic Services to negotiate the operation of the new landfill, transfer station, and recycling center.

At an earlier Administrative Matters meeting this year, the Board of Larimer County Commissioners reviewed a Memorandum of Understanding [MOU] from Republic Services to develop and operate the new facilities.

“This is a legacy decision today. We’re setting a course for our county for dealing with something that every resident has a touchpoint with,” said Larimer County Commissioner Jody Shadduck McNally. “With the increasing population in Larimer County, this is something that I think is innovative and proactive and getting way upstream with the population that we see coming and being good stewards of the environment and climate action plan and the goals we’ve set.”

Under the MOU, Republic Services would design, construct, fund, and develop the North Landfill, Transfer Station, and Recycling Center. For the Recycling Center, Larimer County will fund 50% of the construction costs and negotiate a commodity share.

Selecting Republic Services was made through Larimer County’s Request for Proposal process which included an extensive evaluation and interview process that determined Republic was the best choice for the partnership.

“Republic Services of Colorado is honored to be selected as Larimer County’s environmental services partner for the operation of its North Landfill and development and operation of the Central Transfer Station and Recycle Center,” said Republic Services Northwest Area President Ryan Lawler. “This public-private partnership exemplifies our company’s vision of partnering with customers to create a more sustainable world. We look forward to working with the other community partners to make sure their ideas and concerns are addressed as we move forward to help the county advance its diversion goals.”

Partnering with Republic Services gives Larimer County a participant in the trash-hauling business with extensive experience managing these types of facilities. It also allows for many advantages including long-term environmental compliance, landfill diversion, groundwater and stormwater management, national experience, more resources, and support.

“I want to reinforce the county’s perspective and certainly my perspective about doing what we can to increase our rate of diversion and I appreciate that we have a number to look at — 50% percent diversion not going into the landfill by 2030. That’s very much in line with our sustainability goals and focus areas of our climate-smart future-ready efforts,” said Larimer County Commissioner John Kefalas.

The current landfill will reach its capacity within the next few years and has been operated by Larimer County since 1975. It was previously run by the city of Fort Collins starting in 1963. To plan for the next landfill, Larimer County Solid Waste worked with its municipal partners, waste haulers, businesses, and community members to develop a Solid Waste Infrastructure Master Plan which was completed in 2018. The new landfill and transfer station will need to be operating before filling the existing landfill to capacity.

Although some of Larimer County’s partners hoped the new landfill and transfer station would remain a public facility, changing market conditions, increased operating costs, high transportation costs, and other factors now make it difficult for Larimer County to build and operate the facility solely as a public entity.

“The North Landfill and Transfer Station will be very challenging and demanding facilities from an operational standpoint because of high winds,” said Larimer County Solid Waste Director Duane Penney.

Through the partnership, Republic Services and Larimer County foresee the possibility of a 50% landfill diversion rate by 2030. It also allows Larimer County to reserve funds for future diversion facilities that could include a composting facility, construction, demolition facility, and other emerging technologies for waste management.

“We want to work together toward these diversion goals, and some exciting possibilities with some innovative ways to approach how to divert products that aren’t easy to divert, and I think partnering with Republic who understands emerging technology, puts us in a good place to do some great diversion goals,” said Larimer County Commissioner Kristin Stephens.

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