Grant helps recycling center acquire new forklift

Recycling Center employees Dennis Williams (Left) and Terry Cardwell (Right)

Editor's note: the following was submitted by the Nemaha County Recyling Committee

(KMZA)--National Recycling Day is November 15 each year and it became a special day in the life of the Nemaha County Recycling Center located on Highway 36 east of Seneca. On that day the Center received a much needed piece of new equipment, a new forklift.

To understand the need for a new forklift, a brief history of the Nemaha County Recycling program is needed. The Nemaha County Recycling program began 30 years ago in May of 1992 with drop off days in both Sabetha and Seneca. Since that time two recycling buildings and a hazardous waste holding center have been built at the Nemaha County Landfill and trailers are now located in Baileyville, Bern, Centralia, Corning, Goff, Sabetha and Wetmore with an additional large drop off center at the fairgrounds in Seneca.

In the early days of operation equipment like the early glass breaker was “jury rigged” by the recycling director or often confiscated from other county departments who considered it worn out and past use. Since no paper trail can be found on the forklift currently being used at the recycling center, it is highly likely that it is one of those pieces of confiscated equipment. It is documented the forklift in use has over 8,000 operating hours on it and was rapidly reaching the point where it might require more time and money to repair (if parts can be obtained in the present short supply situation) than it will give hours of operation.

In April, 2022, Adam Kuckelman, Road and Bridge/Solid Waste Supervisor, approached the Nemaha County Commissioners with information about the Solid Waste Management Grant Program available through the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, Bureau of Waste Management, with an application deadline of May 15. The Commission made a motion to pursue submitting a grant application with the County providing the 25% required match.

A bid was secured for the forklift and the application was begun. The first bid submitted on April 18, was $ 37,572.00 with no price guarantee if the forklift was ordered that day. It wouldn’t be delivered until at least December with the good possibility that there could be a 10% price increase by the delivery date. An updated bid was submitted for $ 41,329.00. After consulting with KDHE staff, it was decided to request the updated bid amount with the County providing 25% ($ 10,332.25) and requesting $ 30,996.75 from KDHE due to the uncertainty of availability and price increases. It was understood that if the actual cost of the forklift is less than the bid, the lower figure will be used in determining the actual amount of the grant and the County- shares. At the present time no invoice has been submitted but it Is assumed the cost will be between the two original bids.

Through cooperation between Mr. Kuckelman and his Department and Nancy Gafford, Director of the Rural Development Association of Northeast Kansas, the application was prepared and submitted to KDHE on May 9 prior to the due date of May 15. The County was notified of the award of the granton July 25..

After this date the waiting began. The real wait was finally over on November 11 when the company notified the County the forklift had been received. Delivery day was November 15, National Recycling Day.

Nemaha County is fortunate to have one of the premiere recycling programs in small rural counties throughout the state. The Nemaha County Recycling Committee is very appreciative of past support from the Solid Waste Management Grant Program in helping provide facilities and equipment needed to make this valuable and useful program available to the citizens of the County.

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