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Commission mulls over limiting landfill use for some uses

A Price City truck leaves the county landfill after dropping off some items there. Commissioners said that possible charges for large customers will not apply to municipal entities.

Sun Advocate reporter

A stricter form of regulation may apply to the Carbon County landfill, if commissioners have their way. An ordinance was proposed at the Feb. 17 meeting to limit the types and amounts of solid waste that may be disposed of at the venue.

And, while the panel initially seemed willing to go along with some limitations and more stringent rules, they also received an earful from a few construction contractors and waste haulers during the public comment session.

The landfill, located on Airport Road, is a class IV facility, meaning it is zoned for disposal of asphalt, metal, concrete, bulky waste, construction and demolition materials and some organic matter (including animal carcasses), among other items. The problem has been that large commercial, industrial and/or business interests are dumping massive amounts of waste products.

The commission's attorney explained the proposed ordinance at the conclave.

"This is just a draft," he explained. "Residents could dump with a pickup or two for free, then be assessed a fee. Commercial entities would be charged by the ton."

He went on to say that, until more input from the community is gathered, he is making changes right up "until this very moment."

"Our concerns, as a commission, are these large-scale demolitions in which thousands of tons are brought into the landfill," said Commissioner Bill Krompel. "This concerns me, especially because of the size of the property."

He went on to explain that a 2009 estimate claimed that 20,000 tons of waste had been put into the landfill and the state had conjectured that, under current usage, it would not fill up for about 77 years. He was worried, however, that continued large-scale dumping by industrial concerns could shorten that lifespan considerably.

"I have to wonder why the taxpayers should pick up the costs," added Commissioner John Jones. "I'm not ready to make a decision right now, and I'd like to see what the actual tonnage limits will be in the ordinance first, but I am opposed to large-scale dumping."

Krompel agreed, saying, "Nothing is set in stone right now. This is still evolving and there are many ideas being thrown around. It's not a simple problem. I'd like to hear more input from contractors, as well. I also do not want to put a damper on businesses, especially in this economy. The question is, if we impose disposal fees, how much of an impact will it make?"

Jesse McCork, of Waste & Water Logistics, was not so sure about parts of the proposal.

"I think it needs to be made clear that hauling companies are not necessarily the generators of the waste," he said. "By state definition, the generators are responsible. We need to weigh everything - from pickups to large commercial trucks - and see just what comes in. Everything needs to be manifested."

Jones countered by saying that, while the generator of the waste did indeed hold some responsibility, if a hauler was being paid for its services, that company also shared in the accountability.

"What I believe the ordinance will say is that, if you're a business and this is your waste, or if you're making money to haul it, then we're going to charge a fee."

The decision to formally adopt the proposal should take place within the next month. In the meantime, commissioners agree to concentrate on three possible provisions: weighing the loads that are brought to the landfill, beginning a chipping program to break down some of the material and to vigorously encourage recycling efforts.

"We need to look at the overall project," added Jones. "We need to make this right straight across the board - a fair deal for everyone."

The proposed measure - at this point - does not impose fees for municipal dumping, a point which pleased Price City Public Works Director Gary Sonntag.

"That would have had a significant impact on the city," he said. "I am relieved that no cost will be added onto our budget for waste disposal at the landfill."

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