Charleston Contract Costing HCSWA

By Paul Gable

The contract between Charleston County and the Horry County Solid Waste Authority for the HCSWA to process Charleston County recyclables is costing Horry County money.

With five months (Aug thru Dec) of solid numbers behind us, the HCSWA has lost approximately $130,000 processing Charleston County recyclables.

When the HCSWA entered into the contract with Charleston County, it was estimated the contract would bring a profit of approximately $1 million per year. That certainly does not seem to be the case with revenues from sale of recyclables over those five months totaling approximately $1.860 million and expenses totaling approximately $1.990 million.

The only thing saving the HCSWA from even greater losses was a three month amendment to the contract, which allows Horry County to not pay Charleston County for transportation costs related to bringing the Charleston County recyclables to Horry County.

The contract calls for Horry County to pay Charleston County $425 per truckload of recyclables shipped from Charleston County. These payments have been suspended for December through February. The suspension allowed the HCSWA to realize a modest $20,000 profit in December.

Several other line items are puzzling from the HCSWA’s latest report. Expenses associated with Charleston recyclables are less than expenses associated with Horry County recyclables. However, Charleston County recyclables are approximately double the amount of Horry County recyclables.

Additionally, a total of 21,382 tons of recyclables have been processed in the five months while only 13,192 tons have been sold. This leaves 8,190 tons of recyclables unsold.

The HCSWA was told by Horry County Council that no extra airspace in the landfill on Hwy 90 should be used for Charleston County trash.

The HCSWA reportedly entered into a contract with Sandlands landfill in Marion County to take an amount of C&D trash each month equal to the amount of residuals attributed to Charleston County recyclables.

According to HCSWA reports, approximately 1,000 tons have been shipped to Sandlands. This brings about the obvious question, what happened to the remaining 7,190 tons of unsold recyclables?

Another question is why is reality so far off from projections presented to Horry County Council members by HCSWA staff when permission to enter into the contract was sought?

The Horry County Infrastructure and Regulation Committee will hear the report on the Charleston County recyclable project from HCSWA representatives next week.

It is hoped the I&R Committee will ask numerous questions about the reports presented to them by the HCSWA so a much clearer picture of what can actually be expected from this contract in the future?


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