County warned of possible landfill crunch

March 19, 1997


Staff Writer

Washington County Public Works Director Gary Rohrer told Washington County Commissioners that the Resh II landfill could run out of space before the adjacent Lund landfill is ready to operate if tonnage rises dramatically and state permits are held up.

Tonnage at the landfill is now about 230 tons per day, compared to 400 tons per day before large trash haulers started taking county trash to landfills outside the county when the landfill's tipping fee was raised from $40 per ton to $45.

The county needs to build a bridge and access road to the Lund landfill site that is projected to cost more than $4 million and take nearly two years to complete.


Meanwhile, space at the permitted disposal sites at the Resh II landfill is limited. The county plans to convert a recycling area and a trash hauling-road at Resh II to trash disposal cells, which would add enough life to the landfill to allow the bridge and access road to be completed by the time Resh II is closed, even if tonnage increases to 400 tons per day.

But Rohrer said state regulators could take a year or longer to approve the additional disposal area - time the county wouldn't have if trash haulers started bringing all their trash to the county landfill again.

"My problem is I don't have a crystal ball," Rohrer said.

Rohrer also said that the proposed new cells at Resh II, because of their irregular shape, will be significantly more expensive to construct than previous cells. The fixed construction costs - driven by regulatory requirements - could affect rates, Rohrer said.

"The remaining space (at Resh II) is not cost effective to use for landfill space," Rohrer said. "It frightens me when I see some of these fixed costs (rise dramatically)." Rohrer said he had been saying for the past six years that this situation could eventually come up.

Other hurdles that the landfill will need to clear were also cited by Rohrer:

  • At least $200,000 will be needed to purchase cover material at Resh II in the next fiscal year, which begins July 1.
  • New EPA landfill gas monitoring regulations could significantly affect closing costs at Resh II, which are now estimated at $15 million. Rohrer noted that closing costs at Resh II have already been factored into tipping fees.
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