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County landfill growing to meet increased demands

Posted 7/21/15 (Tue)

By Amy Robinson
Farmer Staff Writer

The McKenzie County Landfill, about nine miles from Watford City, has several projects that are now in their final stages of nearing completion.
“Well, we have a lot of activity out here at the landfill and a few projects that are finishing up,” said Rick Shreiber, McKenzie County Landfill Solid Waste director. “The PDA (Public Drop-off Area) is now covered in asphalt. We are waiting for the fence to be installed and then we will open it up.”
According to Schreiber, the PDA is a large area where people can go to drop off household items like air conditioners, tires, white goods, and scrap metal. The PDA will keep people out of the main pit where all of the heavy machinery is working.
“It’s much like a transfer station without the large building,” says Schreiber. “In the long run, it will be safer for the folks that only come out here a few times a year.”
The 133rd paving project is also coming along, although it’s not quite done yet. When that project is complete, it will have asphalt all the way from U.S. Highway 85 to the landfill gate. And from the gate into the facility, it will all be concrete. Schreiber says there will be ‘no more wallowing in the mud.’ This project should be done in a few weeks.
“We did install some new cameras and update some of the others,” said Schreiber. “Instead of using electricity, however, we went with solar/wind-powered units. It was going to cost a tremendous amount of money to get power trenched in so we looked for an alternative. The alternative was the wind/solar. It works really well and we are doing the ‘green’ thing. I think we should be the leaders in this area for alternative energy sources and we are starting to get that going.”
In addition to the new cameras and the solar/wind-powered units, Schreiber says a new compactor will be coming in the next several weeks as well.
“We also have a new compactor coming,” said Schreiber. “It will be here in about six weeks or so. This new machine, that we are leasing is the Al-Jon Advantage 600. It’s the heaviest compactor on the planet. The heavier it is, the more compaction we will get, thus saving space in the landfill. We are very excited about getting this unit into service.”
Because of the amount of trash that is coming into the landfill on a daily and consistent basis, Schreiber says it’s vital they have the new landfill compactor. With anywhere from 90 to 110 trucks coming into the landfill every day and holding steady at about 200 to 250 tons of trash a day, it’s extremely important for the landfill to get the best compaction it can, to allow each cell to last as long as possible.
“The heavier the unit, the more compaction we can get,” said Schreiber. “The better compaction we can get, the longer the cell lasts. Since cell five has officially closed and we are now in cell six, we’re hoping that this new machine can push out as many years as possible. Cell six is designed to last five to six years, and if we can even get one additional year out of that, it would save us millions of dollars on building a new cell.”
The McKenzie County Landfill is the fastest-growing facility in the entire state of North Dakota, says Schreiber. From 2006 to 2014, the McKenzie County Landfill had the highest growth rate of any municipal landfill in the state. The landfill received 3,650 tons of municipal waste in 2006 and shot up to nearly 66,400 tons by 2013 - an increase of 1,719 percent. The amount of waste fell back to approximately 39,300 tons of incoming waste in 2014. While that signifies a drop of about 41 percent from the previous year, it still marked an increase of about 978 percent of more incoming garbage than before the oil boom.
“Basically, we are up 1,000 percent since 2006,” said Schreiber. “That’s amazing. And I think we can expect to see these numbers for a long time. The numbers that we are seeing now and the numbers we’ll be dealing with for years to come. I don’t anticipate that going away.”
In addition to the many projects taking place and wrapping up at the landfill, Schreiber has been invited to be a guest lecturer during the SWANA’s (Solid Waste Association of North America) 2015 convention this year in Florida from Aug. 24-27.
“I am a certified manager/operator through SWANA and they are globally recognized as the leaders in the solid waste industry,” says Schreiber. “I am going to be talking about how we have dealt with the growth here in the Bakken. How it’s difficult to compete for employees, how it’s difficult to adjust, and just how we have made it to this point in just over two years. It’s quite an honor and I’m excited to represent the county down there.”