Only 41% of Richmond Sanitary District customers have recycling container

The Richmond Sanitary District recently opened a new cell at the New Paris Pike Landfill to help collect the 85,000 tons of waste deposited there annually. But city leaders would like to make the landfill last longer through an increase in recycling.

Mayor Dave Snow told Richmond Common Council members Feb. 20 that the city can open enough cells in the facility’s remaining acreage to last 50 years at the current deposit rate.

“The more that we divert from the landfill with recycling programs, the longer we can extend the lifespan of that acreage,” Snow said.

Pat Smoker, the Sanitary District’s supervisor, said only about 41% of the district’s 16,974 customers who have a trash container also have a recycling container. There have also been 1,000 cardboard recycling containers distributed as that program develops.

The Sanitary District sells its recycling collections in 20-ton increments of mixed paper. Smoker said mixed-paper shipments earn less, but because 20 tons is needed to ship, the storage of each individual paper type would consume too much space.

“You break even under this kind of a model, and where we save money is by how long we extend the life of the landfill,” Smoker said to council during his departmental update.

Smoker also said the Sanitary District maintains 229 miles of sanitary sewer pipes, including more than 60 miles with pipes more than 100 years old, and 18 sanitary lift stations. The system also has more than 100 miles of storm sewer.

The district has worked to reduce the number of times sewage is deposited in the Whitewater River during rainy weather. Since the Combined Sewer Overflow’s Long Term Control Plan began, Smoker said the sewer overflows have dropped 85%.

The district’s next project is improvements to the Short Creek Interceptor, which involves replacing the Hayes and Short Creek lift stations. The project will cost $11,190,808.

Before his departmental update, Smoker had presented council a resolution that would enable the district to increase its bond allowance to cover the project. The council tabled the resolution until its March 6 meeting.

The district will need $4.6 million in bond money after receiving a $2 million loan-forgiveness grant. It plans to use $4,590,808 of its cash to finance the project.

RPD ordinances

Council unanimously approved two ordinances for Richmond Police Department.

One allows collection of donations throughout the calendar year. Chief Mike Britt said the department received $77,930 in 2022 donations.

Of that, $61,725 was collected for the K-9 program when the department was building funds to purchase K-9 Brev for Officer Seara Burton. Britt said the goal was $25,000, and the remaining funds will be used for needed K-9 equipment and future K-9 dogs.

The department also received $16,175 for its Blue Angels Fund. That fund is used by officers to purchase items for children and families in need throughout the year.

The second ordinance allows Britt to change a vacant civilian position title and job description. The new position will be a records division specialist who will assist with maintaining department records and handling Freedom of Information Act requests.

Economic development

Snow promised council members more good economic development news is coming after Liberation Laboratories and Viking Group recently announced plans to build facilities in the Midwest Industrial Park.

“We are looking ahead to what’s going to be a landmark year in economic investment in the city of Richmond,” Snow said.

Cleanup projects

The city is recruiting volunteers for cleanup projects related to the landfill and city parks.

The New Paris Pike cleanup will happen again March 14 beginning at 8:30 a.m. at Freeman Park, picking up trash and debris along Ind. 227.

Snow reminded those using the landfill to properly tarp their loads and avoid shedding trash on the way.

The year’s first parks cleanup will focus on Middlefork Reservoir. Cleanup begins at 9 a.m. March 24 and 10 a.m. March 25. Equipment is provided.

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A version of this article appeared in the March 1 2023 print edition of the Western Wayne News.

Mike Emery is a reporter and layout editor for the Western Wayne News.