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Grosse Pointes, Harper Woods add new site for trash hauling

By: K. Michelle Moran | C&G Newspapers | Published December 3, 2019


GROSSE POINTES/HARPER WOODS — The member communities of the Grosse Pointes-Clinton Refuse Disposal Authority now have a new site where they can drop off their trash.

The GPCRDA Board voted unanimously at a meeting Nov. 12 in Grosse Pointe Shores to sign a two-year contract with the South Macomb Disposal Authority that gives the member communities the option of taking their waste stream to a transfer station in the area of 12 Mile Road and Groesbeck Highway in Roseville, at a rate of $31 per ton.

The cost is much higher than what the member communities pay to drop off their trash at the Pine Tree Acres landfill in Lenox Township — which is about $16 per ton — so it’s expected to only be used when necessary.

Pine Tree Acres is located in the area of 29 Mile Road and Gratiot Avenue in northern Macomb County, making the Roseville site considerably closer to the Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods. But as GPCRDA Board Chair Brett Smith noted, the reduction in driving time, gas, and wear and tear on the rubbish trucks might make the SMDA site more financially feasible for some of the member communities.

None of the GPCRDA’s member communities — which consist of the five Grosse Pointes and Harper Woods — are required to use the SMDA site. As GPCRDA attorney John Gillooly said, this contract just gives the cities “one more option as to where their waste stream goes.”

The decision to sign an agreement allowing use of the SMDA facility follows a July 9 GPCRDA Board vote that permits the member communities to take trash to a Waste Management transfer station in downtown Detroit, at a cost of $38 per ton. The board made the Detroit site available strictly on an emergency basis, since the cost is more than double what the communities pay to use Pine Tree Acres. Waste Management also operates Pine Tree Acres.

“It’s just in the event of unforeseen circumstances, which are very rare,” GPCRDA Board member Terry Brennan said in July. He said this would be an option “in the event of an emergency only.”

Smith said the SMDA facility gives GPCRDA members “another disposal site which is close by,” as an alternative to the Detroit transfer station. It’s also cheaper than the Detroit site.

“I think the prices are more than reasonable, based on what else is out there,” Smith told the board.

Grosse Pointe City, Farms and Shores collect trash using city employees, while Grosse Pointe Park and Woods, along with Harper Woods, contract out that service.

Gillooly said he was impressed with the SMDA site.

“It seems to be running really well,” he said.

Smith, who visited a couple of SMDA facilities recently — including the Roseville transfer station — was also impressed with what he saw.

Smith called the Roseville site “a clean, tight-run operation.” He said refuse trucks are only there for an average of 15 minutes, so they aren’t sitting in a long line and waiting to unload before they can return to collecting trash.

At press time, Smith said he was doing “time and fuel studies” to see if the Roseville site might actually end up being cheaper for his city — Grosse Pointe Shores. Other member communities that do their own trash hauling were expected to do the same.