Windblown trash no longer plagues Moffat County Landfill neighbor | CraigDailyPress.com

Windblown trash no longer plagues Moffat County Landfill neighbor

Lauren Blair

The problem

Windblown trash had been collecting on Floyd Gutierrez's property for more than two decades, blown through or over the fence of the Moffat County Landfill and littering his hay fields.

Gutierrez has lodged countless complaints about the problem, most recently with the newly seated board of commissioners and a Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment inspector, who issued the county a notice of violation in April.

Along the landfill's perimeter, trash could be seen piled up at the base of the fence and strewn along the drainage ditch. The state requires that trash be covered with six inches of dirt every day, but the Moffat County Landfill received a waiver due to a soil shortage. As a result, trash was blowing out of the pit and not getting picked up before it blew over the fence or was broken down into bits of trash "confetti."

“Basically now what they’ve done is just made my property an extension of the dump,” Gutierrez said in April.

A drainage ditch on the eastern edge of the Moffat County Landfill is littered with debris the evening of April 19. State regulations require landfills to keep windblown trash from gathering in the ditch, along the fence line or from blowing onto neighboring properties creating “nuisance conditions.”

 

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The solution

Moffat County Commissioner Ray Beck visited Gutierrez's property in April after he lodged his complaints, and the commissioners promptly met with Road and Bridge Director Dan Miller.

Miller proposed the landfill close early two days a week to allow staff to collect loose trash that escaped the pit. He also planned to re-route the entry to the landfill, which left a large gap in the fence in front of the active pit where trash could easily blow out of the landfill.

The result

"They cleaned it up and it looks good over there now," Gutierrez said Thursday. "I think (Miller) is serious about keeping it clean, and I appreciate it… Even the ditches are kept clean."

This week, the landfill adopted its new hours, closing early on Tuesdays and Fridays at 3:30 p.m. Construction of the new entry road is also complete and the 100-foot-wide gap in the fence line has been plugged.

The fence on the northeastern edge of the Moffat County Landfill overlooking the property of Floyd Gutierrez, which had been consistently plastered with windblown trash in April, looked pristine Thursday. Landfill employees have been cleaning things up since Gutierrez complained in April, and have implemented new practices to keep trash from reaching the perimeter fence.

And since April, landfill and Road and Bridge employees have been busy cleaning up the grounds, and adding more daily cover when needed.

"We don’t want anything to get to the fence, that’s the goal," Miller said. "Even on regular days when we’re not closing early, they’re still jumping off and picking up trash… The key is not to let it get out of hand."

Gutierrez said it's the first sincere action he's seen taken on the matter in 20 years.

"This wind blows here quite a bit, but what they've done is kept their side clean," he said. "That's all I ever said is, if you keep your side of the fence clean, mine will stay clean."

Contact Lauren Blair at 970-875-1795 and follow her on Twitter @LaurenBNews.