Consultant hired to handle landfill issues

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Until county officials come to a decision on how the Moffat County Landfill will operate, it will be run through the county's road and bridge department with a consultant hired to handle technical, engineering and design issues.

Using a consultant is nothing new -- the same company has contracted for technical services for the past six years. But Moffat County commissioners are concerned that the loss of former landfill manager Eric Johnston may affect how the landfill is run and whether it continues to meet state and federal requirements.

Bob Peterson, with NWCC, and Bill Mack, road and bridge department director, met with commissioners Tuesday to discuss NWCC's contract, whether those services should continue and, if so, whether they should increase.

According to Mack, the county's needs should be similar to what they were in the past.

"We may add a few more things to (Peterson's) plate, but I think we'll be about the same," Mack said.

The county has budgeted $25,000 for services from NWCC and commissioners agreed that contract was necessary and should continue.

The cost of the service fluctuates from year to year based on landfill needs, but averages $26,850 a year.

"This year there are several things that need to be done," Peterson said. "Next year, they may not be so many."

The board said it would informally approve expenses on a case-by-case basis above the budgeted amount, if they were incurred. But they asked that Peterson present a formal proposal for his plans for the next year. The bid for the contract has already been let, and Commissioner Marianna Raftopoulos said the county could waive the bid process on additional support or services provided by NWCC.

"My concern now is I just want to keep the state happy with the landfill, that's the most important thing," Peterson said. "It's a great facility, the design is good and it's well run."

The commissioners said that the county could continue to handle the management of the facility and NWCC could handle technical issues such as air and water quality, methane release or engineering.

Peterson recommended several ways he thought the life of the landfill could be expanded and said he would be willing to create proposals working on the money budgeted.

Peterson said the life of the landfill could be doubled from the 11-year expectancy by increasing the grade at which refuse is buried.

At the urging of the commissioners, he and Mack will make that proposal one of the top priorities.

"It's something I think we're going to have to look at," Raftopoulos said.

The commissioners also asked that Peterson work on a plan for waste tires. The county accepts tires at the landfill but doesn't have a plan to dispose of those.

"With a tire pile, the bigger it gets, the more obvious it gets to the state," Peterson said.

One option would be to purchase a shredder and use shredded tires to backfill and cover refuse at the landfill. Peterson said that's a good option but there are others he will explore and then submit a report and proposal to the county.

Peterson also recommended the county create a "mono-fill" pit for construction and demolition materials. Disposing of those types of materials does not require the pit be lined, which saves money and could extend the life of the landfill.

Peterson also will be working on a proposal for that concept.

His suggestions only solidified commissioners' opinions that his services were necessary.

"I think it's pretty evident that there's a certain amount of knowledge and expertise in running a landfill that we currently don't have," Commissioner Les Hampton said. "It's easy to manage employees, it's more difficult to replace

expertise."

The commissioners will hold a workshop at 8 a.m. June 24 to discuss landfill issues, including how it is run and managed in the future.

"I think we can get through the summer OK, but then we need to regroup," Mack said.

One discussion item will be the number of landfill employees needed. Currently there are three. One recently resigned and officials will discuss whether to fill one or two positions. Another issue is management of the landfill.

Currently Jake Kelly oversees the landfill in addition to his other duties as road and bridge department maintenance supervisor and airport supervisor.

Mack also will discuss work schedules of landfill employees with the commissioners on June 24.

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