Originally created 12/13/01

Hauler deserts contract



EDGEFIELD, S.C. - The Tri-County Solid Waste Authority no longer will be doing business with its chairman's son.

Charles Kneece Jr. notified the authority Wednesday night that his company would withdraw immediately from the recycling contract he had with it.

He still has business with Tri-County, though.

He will have to reimburse the authority $3,500 - the estimated cost of burying the recyclable materials collected from Edgefield, Johnston and Saluda during a six-month period and dumped at the landfill.

His contract with the authority required the material to be sorted and sold.

Mr. Kneece's company, Carolina Cleaning, came under scrutiny last spring when authority Director Tim Fox noticed unsorted recyclables in garbage loads at the transfer station.

From May 1 to Oct. 30, Carolina Cleaning sent the cities' recyclable materials to the landfill, contending it was too contaminated to sort.

Taxpayers were stuck with the bill for the recycling service, a $102,000 contract, and for the cost of burying the material at $35 per ton.

On Wednesday night, the authority voted to take over the recycling collection in Edgefield, Saluda and McCormick counties. The authority will hire a driver and purchase a compactor truck at a cost of $68,374 for the remaining six months of the fiscal year.

The authority voted last month to send the towns' recyclables to the North Augusta Materials Recovery Facility and now will truck materials from the county's 19 convenience centers there.

Mr. Fox said the authority is not expected to have the same problem with contaminated recyclables that Carolina Cleaning encountered because they will use a new truck. Carolina Cleaning used a garbage truck.

Mr. Kneece, however, said the contamination problem with the municipalities' recyclables was caused by the residents who mixed in garbage.

Authority Chairman Charles Kneece Sr., who has been criticized for not recusing himself from previous discussions regarding his son's contract with the authority, abstained Wednesday night from all votes relating to his son's business.

"I'm tickled to death that (he's) out of it," Mr. Kneece said of his son.

Reach Carly Phillips at (803) 279-6895 or scbureau@augustachronicle.com.