OC Composting Agreement Extended

OCEAN CITY – Officials in Ocean City voted this week to extend an agreement with the operator of a resort-based composting program.

On Tuesday, the Ocean City council voted 6-0, with Councilman Frank Knight absent, to extend the town’s agreement with Ocean Compost LLC for another year. The Hobbit Restaurant owner Garvey Heiderman, representative for the private-sector company, said Ocean Compost has plans to expand its composting program in the coming months.

“As far as food waste, what we pulled out of the waste stream for the town was about 115 tons last year. This year, we’re shooting for about 300-plus tons,” he told the council last week. “We are also expanding from 10 businesses to at least 20, hopefully upwards of 25 this year.”

In 2021, Heiderman pitched his pilot food waste composting program to the Mayor and Council.

The concept calls for Ocean Compost to collect food waste from participating resort restaurants, weigh it at the town’s public works complex and transport it to the company’s composting site in Bishopville. The idea is to reduce the overall waste stream emanating from Ocean City by removing food waste and composting it on a site in northern Worcester County.

“Last week, I actually got approval from the county to permit a compost facility,” he told the council. “I don’t know if any of you are aware, but last fall we had the county code amended. We were operating under a transient use permit for the last couple of years. Now there’s actually composting regulations for the county, which is a nice step.”

Over a decade ago, Ocean City pivoted from a traditional curbside recycling program to a waste-to-energy operation. Trash collected in Ocean City is transported to the Covanta plant in Pennsylvania where it is incinerated and converted to energy. The town then pays Covanta per ton to incinerate waste collected and convert it into renewable energy.

As part of the company’s agreement with the town, Ocean City compensates Ocean Compost for each ton it diverts from the resort’s waste stream.

“The modifications from last year to the proposed agreement this year are not only date sensitive but fee sensitive in that the current rate would be $90.20 per ton in accordance with what we are currently paying to Covanta,” Public Works Director Hal Adkins said.

In addition to the one-year extension, Heiderman told the council this week he was seeking the town’s support to identify funding sources for the purchase of an organics trash truck. Council President Matt James said city manager could work with the town’s grants administrator to explore options.

With no further discussion, the council voted 6-0 to extend an agreement with Ocean Compost for one year, beginning April 1.

About The Author: Bethany Hooper

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Bethany Hooper has been with The Dispatch since 2016. She currently covers various general stories. Hooper graduated from Stephen Decatur High School in 2012 and the University of Maryland in 2016, where she completed double majors in journalism and economics.