County moving on plan to close landfill

The Park County Commission is moving ahead with plans to close the county landfill on Harvat’s Flat despite the concerns of a handful of local residents.

Park County Public Works Director Parks Frady told the commissioners on Tuesday that the county might be able to use compost from the City of Livingston to fill and cover the landfill. 

The commissioners voted to close the landfill in September after the county’s solid waste board made a recommendation that it be closed due to the high cost of operating it and other concerns. 

The commissioners are still considering options for how to accomplish closing the landfill. 

But a small group of residents showed up at Tuesday’s commission meeting saying they thought the commission should reconsider closing the landfill. 

“I feel it’s got to be kept open,” said Dick Juhnke. “We are going to be at the city’s mercy if we close that.” 

Commissioner Clint Tinsely said the solid waste department’s budget has been difficult to balance in the past several years. In 2012, the commission laid off the landfill employees in part to help balance the budget. Currently, residents may dump Class 4 non-blowable waste only by appointment. Fees for dumping at the Park County landfill are higher than the city’s landfill. 

Bill Juhnke, a local contractor, said the city’s landfill won’t always accept all of his loads and that in the future, during demolitions, some contractors might have to transport their waste to another community if the county landfill is no longer available.

“If I go to demolish someone’s house now it’s a $5,000 job,” Bill Juhnke said. “If you got to haul it to Logan it’s a $10,000 job.”

The landfill has been operating in that location since 1974, according to Commissioner Marty Malone. Material that’s disposed of in the location, which isn’t ideal, is subject to 80-mph winds, the commissioners said. If material from the landfill blows onto adjoining properties, the county is subject to lawsuits and cleanup costs, they said. 

Currently, the county contracts with the city to handle waste collected at its green box sites.  

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Natalie Storey may be reached at nstorey@livent.net.