City spending big on gas until garbage transfer station completed




A closer look inside the massive tin-roof building where the city's trash will be temporarily stored before being taken by a semi-trailer truck to Campbellton, Fla.
An overview of the City of Bainbridge's garbage transfer station, located off Avenue C in southern Bainbridge
An overview of the City of Bainbridge’s garbage transfer station, located off Avenue C in southern Bainbridge

The City of Bainbridge is looking forward to using a new garbage transfer station that will help the city save big on fuel costs to take solid waste to a landfill in Campbellton, Fla.

During the month of May, the City of Bainbridge has been sending its garbage trucks to a Waste Management landfill in Campbellton, located 53 miles’ drive from Bainbridge. In mid-April, the Bainbridge City Council made a deal to take the city’s trash to the Florida landfill for $19 per ton, as opposed to the $24.50 it was paying to haul garbage to the Decatur County Landfill, which is located 20 miles south of Bainbridge off U.S. 27 South.

The City of Bainbridge has a small fleet of six garbage trucks, four of which pick up residential waste and two more which pick up commercial waste.

The residential waste trucks (side-load) hold about six to eight tons of trash, while the commercial waste trucks (front-load) hold about eight to ten tons of trash, according to Bainbridge Public Services Director Steve Winburn.

Currently, until the garbage transfer station is complete, the city’s garbage trucks go along their pickup routes and then take their full loads to Campbellton, Fla., and back, usually making two trips per day each. The four residential pickup trucks only pick up trash on Monday and Tuesday, while the two commercial pickup trucks collect trash Monday through Friday.

From March 2013 to March 2014, the City of Bainbridge sent about 12,000 tons of trash to the Decatur County Landfill. That total is more than the 7,592 estimated tons we used in the example calculations below, based on the average amount of trips we were told the trucks make per week, and the average tonnage they can carry. It is assumed that seasonal increases in trash volume account for the difference.

Please see our related story that lists the City of Bainbridge’s official cost analysis of the landfill bids

 

A closer look inside the massive tin-roof building where the city's trash will be temporarily stored before being taken by a semi-trailer truck to Campbellton, Fla.
A closer look inside the massive tin-roof building where the city’s trash will be temporarily stored before being taken by a semi-trailer truck to Campbellton, Fla.

When the trucks get full, they leave Bainbridge on U.S. 84 West and near the border between Decatur and Seminole counties, then turn off onto Georgia Highway 285. In Seminole County, the trucks turn onto Georgia Highway 91, which turns into Florida Highway 2 once they cross the Chattahoochee, Fla. From there, it’s a straight shot to the Springhill Landfill.

The entire trip, including time to drop off garbage, takes about 2.5 hours.

By that math, the four residential trucks make a total of eight trips per week from Bainbridge to Campbellton, a round-trip of 106 miles. The two commercial trucks make an average of ten trips from Bainbridge to Campbellton, although Winburn said commercial volume is usually lighter in the middle of the week.

 

To calculate how much per week the City of Bainbridge is paying for gas to haul garbage to Campbellton:

  • 18 round-trips per week (eight residential, ten commercial) at 106 miles per round trip = 1908 miles per week
  • The trash trucks average five miles per gallon
  • The city buys diesel fuel at a fluctuating wholesale rate from Southwest Georgia Oil Company. The most recent rate was $3.17 per gallon.
  • 381.6 gallons of diesel fuel at $3.17 per gallon – $1209.67 per week

 

For comparison, the same calculations applied to the mileage between Bainbridge and the Decatur County landfill:

  • 18 round-trips per week at 39.6 miles per round trip = 712.8 miles per week
  • The trash trucks average five miles per gallon
  • 142.56 gallons of diesel fuel at $3.17 per gallon – $451.91 per week

 

*These numbers do not include the city’s labor plus benefits cost of $20.01 per hour; the city estimates it will spend approximately $13,942.97 per year on labor to take garbage to Campbellton; versus $7,491 per year on labor to take garbage to Attapulgus. Those figures are based on transporting 12,000 tons per year.

 

Campbellton tipping costs:

  • Residential trucks carry an average of 7 tons of trash. 7 tons * 8 trips per week = 56 tons per week
  • Commercial trucks carry an average of 9 tons of trash * 10 trips per week = 90 tons per week
  • Total of 146 tons per week
  • 146 tons * $19 per ton = $2,774 per week

Decatur County landfill tipping costs:

  • Residential trucks carry an average of 7 tons of trash. 7 tons * 8 trips per week = 56 tons per week
  • Commercial trucks carry an average of 9 tons of trash * 10 trips per week = 90 tons per week
  • Total of 146 tons per week
  • 146 tons * $24.50 per ton = $3,577 per week

 

CAMPBELLTON TOTAL = $1,209.67 fuel + $2,774 tipping costs = $3983.67 per week

DECATUR COUNTY TOTAL = $451.91 fuel + $3,577 tipping costs = $4,028.91 per week

 

A front-end loader will push the trash stored on the main floor of the transfer station into an opening, where it will fall into a semi-trailer waiting below.
A front-end loader will push the trash stored on the main floor of the transfer station into an opening, where it will fall into a semi-trailer waiting below.

Keep in mind that those numbers are without the transfer station being operated. The massive building that garbage will temporarily be stored in was recently built by Southern Triad Construction off Avenue C in southern Bainbridge. All that remains is for the Bainbridge Street Department to pave the roads that lead in and out of the transfer station site. Right now, it’s muddy red Georgia clay, but Winburn hopes to have it paved by the end of June.

The transfer station is a tin building with a high roof. The city’s garbage trucks will dump their full loads on the concrete floor, Winburn explained. A front-end loader will push garbage into an opening in the floor at the back of the building, where it will fall into the back of a semi-trailer parked at a basement level.

Garbage is already being compressed within the trucks, but the transfer station will allow the city to drain liquid out of the solid waste, further reducing its weight, Winburn said.

The semi-trailer truck will be able to carry approximately 20 tons of trash from the transfer station to the Campbellton landfill. To transport the 176 tons of trash the city is currently averaging per week, the semi-trailer truck will need to make about 9 trips per week to the landfill.

 

 

Estimated City of Bainbridge garbage disposal costs once the transfer station is open:

  • 9 trips per week at 109 miles per round trip = 981 weekly miles
  • 981 miles / 5 miles per gallon for semi-trailer truck = 196.2 gallons of fuel
  • 196.2 gallons of fuel * $3.17 per gallon = $621.95 weekly fuel costs
  • 146 tons * $19 per ton = $2,774 per week

TOTAL COST AFTER TRANSFER STATION = $3395.95 per week  ($632.96 less per week than estimated Decatur County landfill, $587.72 less per week than without transfer station)

A side view of the transfer station, showing the lower-elevation entrance where the semi-trailer truck will park to pick up a load of solid waste for transport to the Springhill Landfill in Campbellton, Fla.
A side view of the transfer station, showing the lower-elevation entrance where the semi-trailer truck will park to pick up a load of solid waste for transport to the Springhill Landfill in Campbellton, Fla.
The entrance to the city's garbage transfer station, located on land the city owns off Avenue C, itself located off Georgia 97 South in Bainbridge.
The entrance to the city’s garbage transfer station, located on land the city owns off Avenue C, itself located off Georgia 97 South in Bainbridge.



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