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County Council, April 6

To move forward with Materials Recycling Facility
At last!
Warwick Jones

At its last meeting, the Finance Committee decided to defer a decision on the planned Materials Recycling Facility (MRF). It also instructed staff to obtain more information on the plans of Berkeley County in regards to building its own MRF. Last night, Re Power South, made a presentation before the Environment Management Committee and spoke of its plans and potential agreement with Berkeley County. In the meetings of the Finance Committee and full Council that followed, members agreed to move ahead with the award of contracts for the Charleston facility but to follow the developments in Berkeley County.

We don’t know what other information was presented to Council members but only one presentation was given last night and from Re Power. The spokesman said that Re Power had on-going discussions with Berkeley County for some years. He was hopeful that a contract would be signed shortly. One of the problems was the sale of a final product – the pellets for use as a furnace fuel. The proposed sales pries was too high for local users but some adjustment to the quality of the pellets may make them more readily saleable. No finance had been put in place for the facility either.

The speaker indicated that it would take about 18 months to build the proposed facility in Berkeley County once the agreement was reached and finance secured.

The presentation was both good but somewhat disjointed in our opinion. The speaker was not critical of Charleston’s plan and in some respects was laudatory. He thought there was good prospects of developing a regional plan, involving Charleston, Berkeley and Dorchester Counties utilizing spare capacity in the proposed MRFs.

It seemed to us, and presumably to Council members that there was little or no reason not to proceed with the MRF planned by the County for North Charleston. And it was approved – to construct the proposed building and to buy the necessary equipment. The cost of both were not disclosed at the meeting.

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