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Strategic Planning for Solid Waste and Recycling Services – Stakeholder Research / Interviews (Rivanna Solid Waste Authority, Virginia)

The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority (RSWA) selected GBB and Draper Aden Associates to assist them in developing a strategic plan for future solid waste services.  The RSWA is made up of the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle.  The scope of work consists of a critical review of facilities and services, including data request and review, followed by kick-off meetings to review the project, scheduling, and to strategically brainstorm.  GBB made site visits to each of RSWA’s facilities to review operations and productivity and provide a technical memorandum on each of these operations to include overview, observations, best practices, and recommended changes.

Stakeholder research was an integral part of this project. GBB conducted in-depth interviews with 30 key stakeholders including elected representatives of the City of Charlottesville and the County of Albemarle, City and County planning agencies, nonprofit and business leaders in order to obtain the projections of growth in the jurisdictions and opinions about the current recycling and solid waste collection system. In addition, GBB developed an online survey, open to citizens and posted on the RSWA website, which asked for opinions about the current solid waste and recycling collection system. More than 400 residents responded. GBB analyzed the data from the online survey and stakeholder interviews. This information was combined with data from the site visits and operational review.

GBB created a GIS map to show the findings. The map showed locations of existing and potential solid waste facilities, which were used to evaluate the logistical realities for different geographic areas of the RSWA jurisdiction. GBB translated transportation and other logistical parameters into specific traffic and cost impacts as well as more general sustainability considerations. Additionally, GBB compared solid waste programs in the County and City to other communities similar in size and nature, and prepared materials that documented solid waste practices and alternatives. GBB presented all of its findings at two public meetings. At one of the meetings, GBB organized small group discussions in order to obtain further input from residents.

GBB developed four alternative scenarios under which RSWA could manage the solid waste of the area. The options evaluated in the scenarios included expanded curbside recycling, a new transfer station, a materials recovery facility, C&D recycling and a refuse-derived fuel facility that would produce fuel pellets. Each option was costed and then evaluated using a full-cost accounting model. The scenarios were presented in a public information workshop. The project is currently on hold pending RSWA’s decision on implementation.