Our Story

City of Bay City Solid Waste & Recycling Services History

As of November 3, 2021

The City of Bay City has provided in-house curbside solid waste services since the early 1950s.  In 1991, with a Michigan Solid Waste Alternatives Program Grant the City purchased 2 stake trucks and began the curbside collection of newspapers for recycling.  With a steadfast commitment to landfill diversion over the past 28 years, the recycling program has evolved from a single material program to a single-stream, multi-material curbside recycling program serving 14,500 residential and 1,300 commercial units. Over 1,200 tons of recyclable material are collected annually.

The City received a 2019 Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes and Energy (EGLE) Recycling Infrastructure Program Grant and a Rural Electronics Recycling Program Grant, to make improvements to an existing building located at the site of the City’s Waste Transfer Station and establish a recycling drop-off for recyclables and electronics. The Bay City Recycles Drop-off Center opened in the fall of 2020 and provides access to recycling for those without curbside service and a local option for handling other hard-to-recycle materials that are not accepted in the curbside recycling program. The Drop-off Center is open to residents and businesses in the region, by appointment only.

As the county seat and largest municipality in Bay County, Bay City is the center of commerce, industry, government, and culture.   As leaders in the region, Bay City is poised to influence resource recovery and is committed to improving recycling access to underserviced populations and neighboring communities.

The Middleground Landfill

The Middleground Landfill is a former municipal landfill that ceased operations in 1984. Approximately 40 acres in size, only a portion of the site was used for municipal waste. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers utilized the north end of the landfill to deposit dredge spoils. The landfill has a 5'   clay cap and engineered controls have been put in place. GM, Honeywell, and the City are principal responsible parties for this site. A Remedial Action Plan ("RAP") is complete and was approved by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) in November 2012. Important components to closing out the RAP at the landfill was the installation of required signage to inform the general public to avoid entering the property, to advise authorized personnel who need to access the property, and to provide safe access routes to emergency and authorized personnel. In addition, to adding new signage around the perimeter of the landfill, the City also extended surface drives on the site to provide controlled access to the west side of the landfill that will enable emergency personnel to respond to any emergencies in that area. The new signage and extended surface drives were completed in September 2012. The objective is to help to ensure public health, to minimize the potential for exposure or injuries that may occur in the future, and that all of the engineering controls that are in place on the site are not inadvertently compromised in any way.

Going forward, the site will require regular monitoring, including groundwater, landfill gas, and engineered controls as part of the ongoing due care obligation. These holding costs were estimated in 2015 to be $1.8 million over the next 31 years. GM was a responsible party at 61.25%, along with the City (30%) and Honeywell (8.75%). The City worked with the Michigan Attorney General and the United States Environmental Protection Agency ("EPA") regarding the proposed GM Bankruptcy "Environmental Response Trust" participating in these holding costs. With the bankruptcy, 61.25% shifted to the City and Honeywell. The City Commission approved on February 7, 2011, a resolution that authorized the City to establish a fund for placement of funds obtained from any settlement with, or payment from the estate of, General Motors, Inc. and its successor entities. To date, the City received stocks and warrants and with their liquidation received $152,998 from the GM bankruptcy settlement. As a result of the settlement, the City's total exposure is 60.25% and Honeywell is 39.75%.

The former Surath scrap yard is considered an orphaned site by the Department of Environmental Quality. The DEQ has provided grant dollars to the City in the past to deal with environmental concerns. The site is currently fenced and there is a topsoil cap on the site. There are no current or pending environmental actions on the former Surath scrapyard site. The DEQ has provided technical assistance to the City to help market this site for redevelopment. The former Surath scrap yard has been substantially cleaned up with the City incurring approximately $600,000 in costs.

The City acquired 43 acres of Riverfront property in Bay City, known as Uptown Bay City. The EPA and the MDEQ have determined that the City is not a liable party for the existing contamination at the site. Further, the EPA has awarded the City four grants totaling $1,600,000 to primarily aid the City in addressing the environmental legacy of industry on this site. Three large buildings were demolished in 2009 and the remaining structures were demolished in 2012. An EPA grant-funded contract to excavate an area of environmental concern (a former coal gasification facility) was completed. The property is fenced and has a 5" gravel cap. Uptown was purchased October 2, 2012, by Bay Riverfront Development, LLC and is intended to become a multi-purpose development site.