San Francisco's garbage deal challenged by Waste Management 

San Francisco officials awarded a $112 million garbage contract to one company by using a process that stunk, according to a lawsuit filed this week by a competing trash disposal company.

The lawsuit comes as a Board of Supervisors committee is set to approve a 10-year contract with Recology today to dispose of waste in the company’s landfill in Yuba County.

The proposed contract would take effect in 2015 and would result in about 5 million tons of trash being sent 130 miles away from The City. Recology also would be the sole company transporting the trash.

Waste Management, the company that operates San Francisco’s current landfill 55 miles away in Livermore, would lose its current contract with The City to hold 15 million tons of trash.

In its lawsuit, Waste Management claims a violation of San Francisco’s competitive-bidding ordinance. At the heart of the matter is whether a 1932 ordinance establishing the way garbage is collected in The City pertains to the transportation of trash to the landfill.

Waste Management claims the Department of the Environment, which awarded the contract to Recology in September 2009, only asked companies to bid on the disposal of waste and not the transportation. Recology, however, bid both on the disposal and transportation, and it was awarded both.

The company is asking a judge for an injunction and a new bidding process to take place.

A spokesman for Recology, Adam Alberti, denied there was any problem with Recology’s bid and said the lawsuit targets The City and not the company.

“It was a multiyear process in which Recology submitted a bid that was $100 million cheaper than the next-closest bid,” Alberti said.

Representatives for the City Attorney’s Office and the Department of the Environment declined to comment on the lawsuit.

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