Transfer and Disposal Services Procurement (Metro Nashville, Tennessee)

GBB managed the full service procurement for the transfer and disposal of over 160,000 tons of solid waste annually for the Metropolitan Government of Nashville and Davidson County. The project goal was to develop a solid waste disposal alternative for Metro, utilizing private industry that will provide high reliability and low cost for the next 30 years. To meet this goal, GBB developed procurement documents, including draft contracts that lay out Metro’s preferred terms and conditions. The procurement documents, issued as a Request for Proposals (RFP), contained specifications and requirements that Metro felt were necessary, including disposal outside of Davidson County at an existing permitted facility, provision of a business plan, provision of cost information to enable Metro to make unambiguous comparisons and provisions for taking solid waste from all the current users of Thermal.

GBB managed the process for Metro that used the Competitive Sealed Proposals method of source selection for this procurement, as authorized by Section 4.12.040 of the Metropolitan Procurement Code. Under this method, an award, if made, is to be made to the responsible Proposer whose Proposal is most advantageous to Metro, taking into consideration price and the other factors set forth in the RFP. The RFP requested that any firm that felt it was qualified could submit technical proposals, qualifications and cost proposals in the form requested in the RFP. All proposals received by the specified due date and time would be evaluated.

This approach allows for evaluation of differences in technical approach to determine which is in the best interest of Metro. It also allows proposers to offer innovative options that Metro may not have identified but that may be in Metro’s best interest to evaluate. The process permitted competition among the proposing vendors on criteria other than price alone. The process has a number of features, including:

  • Requirements that must be met for a proposer to be responsive, such as Bid Bonds and proof of insurance;
  • Performance specifications that allow for responses with additional detail that may depend on a proposer’s technical approach, such as the requirement to dispose of a specific quantity of municipal solid waste in one day and one year;
  • Draft contracts that establish the structure of the relationship that Metro wants with the contractor; and
  • Requests for specific information concerning the proposer, such as annual reports or SEC 10-K reports.

GBB completed the entire procurement process in less than four (4) months. Proposers had approximately two (2) months from the issuance date of the RFP to prepare and submit their proposals, during which time they were invited to attend a proposal conference and conduct visits to the various sites and facilities referenced in the RFP.

  • Option 1 – Interim Transfer and Disposal – This option would utilize an existing transfer facility to dispose of Metro solid waste that could not be disposed of at Thermal during the initial term of 19 months with a one-year renewal;
  • Option 2.A.1 – Long Term Transfer and Disposal – This option would utilize a privately owned transfer station to dispose of Metro solid waste for 30 years starting at the time of closure of the Thermal facility; and
  • Option 2.A.2 – Long Term Transfer and Disposal with purchase option– This option would utilize a new privately owned transfer station to dispose of Metro solid waste for 30 years starting at the time of closure of the Thermal facility and provide Metro with an option to purchase the facility, exercisable at any time after five years from the Contract start date.

The contracts with the private firm selected for the project were signed by the City Council five months after project initiation, and operations began for the entire Metro waste stream in less than one year. The cost to Metro dropped from $75 per ton of waste disposed to $26.50 per ton. The unit cost will escalate with a portion of the cost of living index during the life of the contract.