By Chris Pickup

Haldimand county is facing a 75% increase in the costs of its municipal hazardous and special waste (MHSW) collection and processing, one it has not fully budgeted for.

The county holds four collection events each year, in Dunnville, Caledonia, Hagersville and Cayuga, where residents can take their hazardous wastes and large recycling to be disposed of properly.

Two companies bid on the tender documents. One was dismissed as being non-compliant, while the other from Photech Environmental Solutions Inc. came in at $106,398.98 (including full HST), a 75% increase over the last contract.

County staff has recommended awarding of the contract for a two year term with the option for three annual renewals. Photech has previously operated the MHSW collection events in Haldimand and their performance was considered satisfactory.

A review by staff concluded that 95% of the overage is related to increased labour costs, increased supply costs and increased disposal and recycling costs. The processing and recycling of used oil was at one point a “no cost” item.

The price to collect and dispose of pharmaceutical sharps has increased because there are only two processors in Ontario for these materials, and staff will be investigating the need to provide sharps collection since local pharmacies and health unit offices in Dunnville and Caledonia will accept them at no cost to the resident.

The additional 5% overage is related to a minor increase in scope to deal with hazardous and or special waste inadvertently received at the Canborough Waste Management Facility.

An amendment to the operating budget to take care of the increased costs was passed at council committee level Tuesday, subject to ratification at council Monday.

Councillor Bartlett enquired about batteries, “which are an issue all across Ontario”.  He was told that vendors will generally take them back.

“I am not pleased with the 75% increase,” said Councillor Corbett. “I am voting against this, sending a message.” Quite what that message was  Intended to convey was not clear unless he was recommending the county leave residents high and dry with their hazardous wastes.