New York City Department of Sanitation

Solid Waste Disposal Contracts

The New York City Department of Sanitation collects refuse (solid waste) from residences and institutions such as schools and municipal facilities. In the past, this waste was taken to landfills and incinerators in New York City, but the incinerators were shut down and the last available landfill was closed in 2001. The Department is developing a comprehensive long-range plan for municipal waste disposal, but in the interim, municipal waste is being delivered to various contractors for disposal at sites outside New York City. At the time of our audit, a total of 19 waste disposal contracts were in effect, each covering a different area of New York City. The waste is delivered to the contractors at transfer facilities, where it is weighed, and the contractors are paid a certain amount per ton for each delivery. During the year ended June 30, 2003, the Departmentís payments to the contractors totaled about $249 million.

We examined the Departmentís controls over the contract award and payment processes. We found that the controls provide adequate assurance contract billings are valid and accurate. However, we could not determine whether the contracts were awarded in a manner that results in waste disposal services being provided at the lowest possible cost, because the reasons for many of the decisions made in the complex and automated contract award process were not adequately documented. We also examined the Departmentís use of waste transfer facilities and found that, in many instances, the Department did not use the transfer facilities shown by its estimates to result in the lowest total cost to New York City, and as a result, additional waste disposal costs may have been incurred.

For a complete copy of Report 2003-N-9 click here.
For a copy of the associated follow-up report click here.