St. Clair County commissioners on Wednesday took the first step in approving a three-year contract with Canadian company Enertec Inc. The board will be asked to give the contract final approval on July 17.
The trash would go to the Smiths Creek Sanitary Landfill in St. Clair County's Kimball Township, about 50 miles northeast of Detroit. St. Clair County Administrator Bill Kauffman said four to six trucks a day currently bring trash from Ontario to the landfill.
"This is a contract with a broker whose task is assisting us in finding Canadian waste," Kauffman said. "The board said quite a few months ago it's time to find Canadian waste."
Enertec gets 50 cents per ton of trash it brokers for the landfill.
County chairman Jeff Bohm said the number of Canadian trash trucks on area roads isn't near 2003 levels, when people complained about traffic heading to Michigan landfills.
"We're just not opening the floodgates so to speak, we're looking at 12 trucks (a day) at a maximum," Bohm said.
Canadian trash makes up about 17 percent of garbage for Michigan landfills. Communities and businesses are paid for allowing Canadian trash to be sent to landfills in the state, and the state government also collects disposal fees.
Some Michigan residents complain that trucks carrying Canadian garbage cause environmental and health problems, harm roads and create security risks because of the difficulty of screening trash for contraband.
A memo from landfill manager Matthew Williams said there is no estimated value for the contract due to the uncertainty of how much Canadian trash the landfill will get. Williams estimated each truck coming from Canada carries about 35 tons of trash.