Under the agreement, the city is slated to pay Waste Management Mobile Bay Environmental Center, which operates the city-owned Chastang Landfill, sums of $250,000 and $126,000 for lost profits and reimbursements, in addition to monthly payments of $2.40 per cubic yard of construction and demolition (C&D) waste or trash diverted from the landfill.
The agreement stems from a 2016 lawsuit Waste Management filed against SWDA for allegedly breaching a contract originated in 1994 between the city and Waste Management’s predecessor, Transamerican.
The lawsuit alleged lost profits from the city’s use of Dirt, Inc. as a landfill dumping ground for its yard waste. In January 2017, Waste Management sought an injunction to stop the city from dumping in Dirt, Inc.’s landfill. However, the city persisted in an effort to save money. On Dec. 22, 2017, the city entered into an agreement with Waste Management to avoid legal repercussions. SWDA filed suit against the city the same day.
SWDA Chairman Pete Riehm says that the central point of contention for SWDA is that neither the authority nor city council were consulted on the decision to settle, and that matters of the waste stream are under SWDA’s authority.
Riehm claims that Waste Management never wanted the yard waste in the first place, and simply used the yard waste diversion topic as leverage after they decided to sue SWDA. According to Riehm, Mobile citizens are the ones who are going to be hurt under the agreement.
“The burden on the city and its citizens is onerous,” Riehm says. “It’s $400,000 or $500,000 per year, potentially. That’s in addition to the 25 percent higher disposal rate the city already deals with than comparable cities.”