PRIVATE refuse collection companies are queuing up to acquire a huge county council-owned landfill site in west Limerick.
Having taken soundings, the council is expected to put the 80-acre site up for sale before the end of the year.
The site at Gortadroma is licensed to take in 130,000 tonnes of waste a year.
While most landfills around the country have seen a major drop in waste intake, Gortadroma is expected to take in 110,000 tons this year, 5,000 tons more than 2009.
It will generate up to €5.5 million in revenue for the council.
An added attraction to potential buyers is the one megawatt generator on site which generates electricity from methane gas given off by the compressed waste. This is transmitted into the ESB national grid via a link to an electricity sub station located in Foynes.
The council invited expressions of interest in the site and to date six major private waste disposal companies have indicated their interest in acquiring the Gortadroma landfill. Gerry Behan, director of services with Limerick County Council, said the Gortadroma facility had paid its way but the local authority was examining its options.
He said private operators who have been in contact with the council had indicated a preference to buy out the site.
As a result, he said, the council will now proceed along that route with a greater degree of certainty.
Mr Behan said: “We will now get in expert advice on valuing the site.”
Selling a landfill, he said, was complex and he expected it may be early next year when they can complete a sale.
The council installed an electricity plant on site last year at a cost of just over€1m. It is now producing power sold to the ESB which offers a profit of about €300,000 a year.
While Gortadroma covers about 80 acres, waste disposal underground cells have been developed on 25 acres.
The intake of waste dropped to 56,000 tons in 2008. But with a very competitive rate per ton, the tonnage rose to 104,000 tons last year and the projection is that it will hit the 110,000 ton mark this year.
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