Rivanna Solid Waste Authority

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The Rivanna Solid Waste Authority (RSWA) was formed in 1990. [1] as a political subdivision of the Commonwealth of Virginia to handle solid waste disposal and recycling activities in the City of Charlottesville and the Albemarle County


Soon after formation, City Council adopted a resolution transferring 14 city employees who worked at the Ivy Landfill to the RSWA. [2]


In October 2019, the RSWA was set to open a drop-off point for the recycling of oyster shells. [3]


The RSWA operates three facilities in addition to its main office.


Board of Directors

RSWA is governed by a seven-member Board of Directors, which consists of the City Manager and the Director of Public Works for the City of Charlottesville, the County Executive and the Director of Engineering and Public Works for Albemarle County, and a Chairperson selected jointly by the City Council and County Board of Supervisors. In 2009, the RSWA charter was changed to add one City Councilor and one member of the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors[citation needed].

The current board consists of:

  • Michael Gaffney, Chair; Appointed
  • Jeff Richardson, County Executive of Albemarle County; Vice Chair, Ex-Officio
  • Chip Boyles, City Manager of the City of Charlottesville; Secretary-Treasurer, Ex-Officio
  • Dr. Liz Palmer, Albemarle County Supervisor; Ex-Officio
  • Lloyd Snook, Charlottesville City Councilor; Ex-Officio
  • Lance Stewart, Albemarle County, Director, Facility and Environmental Services Department; Ex-Officio
  • David Brown, Director of Public Works of the City of Charlottesville; Ex-Officio


In June 2010, the City of Charlottesville terminated its agreement with the RSWA, choosing to have Waste Management transport the city's trash to a Materials Recovery Facility operated by Van der Linde Recycling.[4] However, the city continues to be represented on the RSWA board, since it still helps fund the McIntire Road Recycling Center.[5]

In 2013, Albemarle County considered alternatives to its agreement with the RSWA, including entering into a contract with Van der Linde Recycling.[5] In October 2013, the county agreed to contract with a private firm to develop "convenience centers" in the county and has until June 2014 to complete that process. [6]

Ground was broken for one such center in Ivy on November 17, 2017. [7]

In 2020, Charlottesville awarded a $103,000 contract to the firm Gershman Brickner Bratton to study the city's recycling program.

The city's program operates at an annual deficit covered by the general fund. [8]

Legal issues

2001 Ivy Landfill lawsuit

In 2001, the RSWA settled with 15 Albemarle County landowners that had filed a suit claiming the Ivy Landfill leaked, poisoning their water supply. As part of the terms of the settlement, the landowners were not allowed to publicly criticize new construction at the landfill. To protest, many of them attended a City Council meeting wearing gags.[9]

2009 Van der Linde lawsuit

In 2009, RSWA spent almost $400,000 suing Peter van der Linde in a $20 million RICO suit. Van der Linde now runs Van der Linde Recycling, an $11 million Materials Recovery Facility that competes with the RSWA to offer waste management services in Charlottesville and Albemarle.[10] [4] The RSWA accused Van der Linde of defrauding them of over $1 million dollars between 2006 and 2007, when he operated a container rental business that brought its waste to the trash transfer station operated by Browning-Ferris Industries (BFI) in Ivy. The authority claims that Van der Linde's truck drivers failed to tell the BFI that the waste came from the RSWA service area, thereby avoiding a $16 per ton "service contribution fee" that helps fund the RSWA.[11] But Van der Linde argued that his drivers did not tell the BFI about the source of the waste because BFI failed to ask. He claimed that BFI had an incentive not to ask so that it could charge its own higher service fees.[12] In December 2009, the key material witness in the case - Richard Wade Kendrick - was convicted of extortion.[13] The RSWA's suit was dropped when Van der Linde agreed to pay $600,000 in a January 2010 settlement. BFI separately agreed to pay RSWA $300,000 and gave up a 3-year agreement with the authority.[14] There has been speculation that the RSWA sued Van der Linde because it feared the competition from Van der Linde's MRF, located next to the BFI's transfer station at Zion Crossroads.[12]


The RSWA was meant to pay for itself, but has been struggling financially.[15]

In January 2010, Mayor Dave Norris raised the possibility of Charlottesville ending its relationship with the RSWA when its current agreement expired in June 2010.[16] The city did so, choosing to award a contract to private RSWA competitor Van der Linde Recycling.[4]

In late 2012, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors discussed closing the Ivy transfer station or converting it to a convenience center, as the expense of operating it rose. The county contributed $116,000 to operate the facility in 2012, but the cost was projected to rise to as much as $350,000 in 2013 as the $600,000 settlement from a lawsuit against Peter van der Linde ran out (see above). The board notified the RSWA in October 2012 that it was considering closing the station.[15] On May 20, 2013, the county sent out a Request for Proposals for solid waste services.[17] However, the county renewed its agreement with the RSWA on June 5, 2013, extending it through the end of the year.[18] Then, on July 10, 2013, the county reviewed the one response to the RFP, submitted by Peter van der Linde of Van der Linde Recycling operate it. Supervisors Rooker, Mallek, and Snow spoke in favor of opening convenience centers operated by Van der Linde Recycling.[19]

External links

RSWA website



  1. Web. County of Albemarle, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors Minutes, Albemarle County Board of Supervisors, Albemarle County, October 31, 1990, retrieved June 29, 2011.
  2. Web. Charlottesville City Council meeting minutes, .pdf, Council Chambers, City of Charlottesville, January 22, 1991.
  3. Web. Recycling shells makes a world for oysters, Bryan McKenzie, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, October 20, 2019, retrieved October 20, 2019.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 Web. Timely disposal: City dumps RSWA for Van der Linde, David McNair, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 30 June 2010, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Web. Recycled remedy: Will Ivy 'transfer' to Van der Linde?, David McNair, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 27 June 2013, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  6. Web. Albemarle may miss waste center deadline, J. Reynolds Hutchins, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, November 14, 2013, retrieved November 14, 2013.
  7. Web. Construction Begins on New Albemarle Transfer Facility for Trash, Lowell Rose, News Article, WVIR NBC29, Charlottesville, Virginia, November 17, 2017, retrieved November 19, 2017.
  8. Web. Charlottesville awards $103K contract to study recycling program, Staff reports, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, February 9, 2020, retrieved February 10, 2020. Print. February 9, 2020 page A3.
  9. "Albemarle County Residents Protest Gag Order in Settlement." Daily Progress [Charlottesville] 3 Apr. 2001. George Loper's Archive. Web. 15 Aug. 2009. <http://george.loper.org/trends/2001/Apr/78.html>.
  10. Web. Flow blow: Wasteworks may seek trash monopoly, Dave McNair, The Hook, 9/28/09
  11. Web. Don Van der Linde? Wasteworks whacks recycler with RICO, David McNair, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 17 Aug 2009, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  12. 12.0 12.1 Web. Trash talking: RSWA breaks silence on lawsuit, David McNair, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 24 Oct 2009, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  13. Web. Revenues slide for RSWA, which contends $1M in unpaid fines from private trash hauler, Brian Chidester, C-VILLE Weekly, Portico Publications, 12 Jan 2010, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  14. Web. Freed Van der Linde: Govt drops suit against recycler, Hawes Spencer, The Hook, Better Publications LLC, 20 Jan 2010, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  15. 15.0 15.1 Web. Albemarle trash program could be curtailed, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, 1 Dec 2012, retrieved 22 July 2013.
  16. Web. City may end RSWA partnership, Rachana Dixit, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, January 13, 2010
  17. Web. Albemarle Board of Supervisors Executive Summary for 10 July 2013, Tom Foley, County of Albemarle, 10 July 2013, retrieved 2 Aug 2013.
  18. Web. Albemarle Board of Supervisors Executive Summary for 10 July 2013, County of Albemarle, 5 June 2013, retrieved 2 Aug 2013.
  19. Audio. Albemarle Board of Supervisors. Solid Waste Work Session (MP3).  County of Albemarle. Retrieved 10 July 2013, minutes in 3:30pm.