Landifll Cost Issues Relating To Disposal of Debris in the City of New Orleans, Report No. DD-07-03   [open pdf - 185KB]

"At the request of Congressman Jeb Hensarling, we reviewed issues related to landfill costs for debris disposal in the City of New Orleans, Louisiana (City). The Congressman's letter says that nearly all of the waste deposited at the Chef Menteur Landfill was from U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) contracts funded by the Federal Emergency Management Directorate (FEMA); describes a separate agreement for the landfill operator to 'donate' a percentage of revenues to the City; and suggests that Chef Menteur was not the most cost effective landfill in the region. The letter also suggests that a link may have existed between the creation of Chef Menteur, the 'donations' from the landfill operator to the City, and the high tipping fees (disposal charges by the landfill operator). We performed this review under the authority of the Inspector General Act of 1978, as amended. Our objectives were to determine whether the donation agreement was appropriate and whether using the Chef Menteur landfill was cost effective. We reviewed circumstances surrounding the creation of the Chef Menteur landfill and the donation agreement between the landfill operator and the City. We also evaluated the potential cost of using other landfills as alternatives to Chef Menteur because the City closed Chef Menteur on August 15, 2006. We interviewed officials from FEMA, the Corps, the Louisiana Department of Environmental Quality (LDEQ), and the landfill operator, and reviewed relevant documentation. City officials declined to meet with us. We conducted our fieldwork from July 14, to September 11, 2006."

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Report No. DD-07-03
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