Solutions to trash problem in Lake Ozark presented

Dan Field
Speical to the Lake Sun, USA TODAY NETWORK
When the current contract expires in 2022, city officials anticipate a significant increase in trash pickup costs from the sanitation company due to increased steel and fuel costs.

A long-standing trash issue on The Strip in Lake Ozark could have a solution in the works.

City officials are working with Lake of the Ozarks Solid Waste Management District T officials to figure out a way to get trash receptacles out of public view, and to get overflowing trash off The Strip. The number of trash dumpsters is inadequate to handle the volume of trash created by businesses as The Strip has welcomed near-record numbers of visitors, and the topography of the narrow Strip most often prohibits trash dumpsters from being placed behind businesses.

Paramount to moving forward with any plan is extending the current contract with Green For Life Environmental, Inc. (GFL), which expires February 2022. GFL recently bought out WCA, the city’s long-time refuse company. The city administrator or his designee has been authorized by the board of aldermen to negotiate a new contract.

This isn’t the first time trash and sanitation concerns have been on the table for the board of aldermen.

Board minutes from June and August 2008 show that aldermen discussed trash left on public property as a violation of the city’s nuisance ordinance. A committee was formed by then-mayor Johnnie Franzeskos to consider solutions to removing trash containers from the city’s right of way and out of the public’s view.

At the Oct. 13, 2020, board meeting then-mayor Gerry Murawski noted he was in talks with the District T staff to develop a glass recycling program for restaurants on The Strip. He was voted out of office six months later before he was able to move forward with a plan.

Proposed plan

Any overall sanitation plan would have to be approved by the board of aldermen.

A committee has been formed to review the existing sanitation system which is managed by GFL. The focus of the committee is to make recommendations for improvements such as aesthetics, recycling where practical, cost savings opportunities and available grants to offset improvement costs.

Estimated setup cost could be as much as $67,250, with the city’s investment estimated at $49,000. Under the proposal, the city would begin billing for commercial accounts. Currently, the city only bills for residential accounts and commercial businesses work directly with GFL/WCA.

When the current contract expires in 2022, city officials anticipate a significant increase in trash pickup costs from the sanitation company due to increased steel and fuel costs.

According to the sanitation plan, developed by Derrick Standley, regional director of the Lake of the Ozarks Solid Waste Management District T, extending the current contract for another year gives the city time to develop the proposed plan.

He said the city’s sanitation plan was developed to handle about five million visitors each year, and that has grown to more than 10 million by some estimates.

Highlights include

•City to take control of billing for commercial customers.

This action could result in consolidation of trash containers; increase appearance; combined with recycling will lower the cost of enclosures and concrete pads; generate revenue that could pay for the cost of enclosures and concreter pads.

•Construct concrete pads and enclosures for trash receptacles.

Pads and enclosures would allow for greater aesthetics as well as creation of several additional parking spaces in key tourist areas. The cost of adding these in three key areas on Bagnell Dam Blvd. is about $50,000. That cost would be absorbed by revenue generated because of the city taking over billing services and the overall reduced cost of basic services.

•Implement expanded commercial recycling.

Create a voluntary expanded recycling program for local businesses. About 85 percent of the weight of all trash material generated is considered recoverable (recyclable). By separating the collection of recyclables from the existing waste contract with the city, the Solid Waste Management Region will be able to set up recycling within each business on a voluntary basis. Each participating business would be provided containers for glass, corrugated cardboard, and aluminum recycling.

The recyclable material would be taken to the Laclede Industries Recycling Center where they would be processed and transported for recycling. This service will reduce the amount of waste produced and ultimately control sanitation costs on a long-term basis, according to the plan.