NORTH OGDEN — Weber County would save some $600,000 a year if it were to contract with Promontory Point Resources to haul the county’s waste to the firm’s landfill, located adjacent to the Great Salt Lake and the focus of simmering concern among environmentalists.
Whatever the case, no deal is likely in the offing in the immediate future, according to Weber County Commissioner Scott Jenkins, though he doesn’t discount the possibility of something over the long haul. The county’s contract with its current waste hauler, Republic Services, lasts until August 2021 and breaking the deal would potentially put the county at legal risk, a county legal advisor has told commissioners.
“They tell us that it’s enforceable and they don’t think that the county can walk away from that contract,” said Jenkins, speaking at a county commission meeting Tuesday in North Ogden. The county is still reviewing some aspects of the deal, he said, but he anticipates finding no leeway allowing the county to walk away early from Republic.
The topic “will come up in the future sometime,” Jenkins expects. “But today, I anticipate that is a dead issue.”
The Promontory Point Resources facility, which has yet to take in any trash, has come under assault from environmentalists, who worry about its location near the Great Salt Lake. It sits on 2,000 acres on Promontory Point on Promontory Peninsula in Box Elder County, northwest of Ogden, according to the company’s website.
Friends of Great Salt Lake, a nonprofit group formed to defend the ecosystem around the Great Salt Lake, worries about the potential for harm to the lake and has criticized what it sees as insufficiently rigorous review of the landfill plans by state environmental officials. It is pressing for additional review of the plans by the Utah Department of Environmental Quality’s Division of Waste Management and Radiation Control.
Jenkins, alluding to the environmental concerns, said oversight of such issues is in state hands, not the county’s. “They’re the ones that approve landfills and that landfill’s been approved,” he said.
On the positive side from the county’s perspective, he said, would be the potential savings by turning trash hauling over to Promontory Point Resources — $600,000 a year.
The county currently pays Republic Services $27.78 per ton of trash it hauls from the county’s transfer station in Ogden. Republic now hauls waste generated here to a landfill in Tooele County and in 2018, it handled 193,595 tons of Weber County garbage, according to county officials.
At $27.78 per ton, the bill to the county to process the 2018 waste would have amounted to $5.38 million. Extrapolating from the 2018 figure, the $600,000 in savings that Jenkins cited would reflect an 11.2% drop in costs for the county in trash hauling fees.
Trash hauled from Weber County, if a deal with Promontory Point Resources ever materialized, would travel north into Box Elder County, west and then south through the Promontory Peninsula to the landfill, according to county officials.
Promontory Point Resources, a subsidiary of Ogden-based Allos Environmental, came under particular fire from environmentalists last year as it sought a Class V permit, giving it leeway to accept waste from outside Utah. Some worried a Class V permit would allow it to take in coal ash, though the company says it “does not anticipate” accepting such materials.
As is, Promontory Point Resources holds a Class I permit. The company says that would allow it to handle municipal solid waste, though such a permit wouldn’t allow “for the direct receipt of industrial waste or out-of-state waste.”