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Dealing with tons of trash

Posted 4/03/13 (Wed)

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

McKenzie County’s recently-built landfill was supposed to last the county roughly 50 years. But when the boom increased the landfill’s daily intake average from around 20 tons per day to between 250 to 350 tons a day, the landfill’s ‘as is’ expectancy went from 50 years to around 2.
Though the landfill has plans to add an additional cell in the coming year and has purchased 90 acres for a future landfill site, Rick Schreiber, Solid Waste Management director, wants to make sure that everything is being done to care and protect the landfill, not only for its longevity, but for the people of McKenzie County.
“We are very adamant about not having anything in the landfill that we are not regulated for,” states Schreiber.
That includes large quantities of concrete, plastics, metal and any type of radioactive waste, as established by state and federal regulations.
“We are a subtitle D landfill, which means we are limited by the state and federal government to what we can and cannot take in,” states Schreiber.
With regard to waste products, the state and federal governments restrict the unloading of certain waste to household quantities, nothing larger.
Therefore, Schreiber states that nine out of 10 landfill loads are gone through to ensure that nothing is contained in them that cannot be taken in by the landfill.
Schreiber goes an additional step by joining in a coordinated effort with the Williston and Dickinson landfills to ensure their procedures are on the same page.
“I don’t want an area business to say, ‘we’ll just take it to McKenzie County,’ and Williston and Dickinson don’t want that either,” states Schreiber. “This way, companies will have to deal with their waste products correctly.”
If a load does contain materials restricted by the landfill, the load owner could be fined as much as $1,000, for filter socks or pit liners, and $250 for each additional incident.
“We are serious about keeping radioactive materials out of our landfill,” states Schreiber. “If people try to sneak restricted materials in, we will catch them and we will fine them.”
Since coming on at the landfill, Schreiber states that the landfill has generated somewhere in the neighborhood of $125,000 in fines and has caught around 450 filter socks and 10 to 12 pit liners.
Not only will load owners face a fine, but Schreiber states that he is required to file paperwork with the North Dakota Department of Health for each instance of discovered radioactive material.
There is also a fine of $240 for excessive metal, as well as fines for unloading too much concrete and plastics.
Since Schreiber was hired as the landfill director last November, a number of other changes have taken place.
“We have been able to bring in a brand new Bomag trash compactor, which allows us to compact the loads and put more trash into the landfill,” states Schreiber. “It makes the cell last longer.”
The landfill has also been able to purchase a Bobcat, for removing wood, plastics and metals that do not belong in the landfill from the loads when they are brought in. And, Schreiber states that the McKenzie County Commissioners approved the purchase of a pickup truck for the landfill.
“We have also purchased a scale which should be operational late spring,” states Schreiber.
With the scale, Schreiber states that the landfill will be better able to track how much trash the landfill is taking in.
Cell five of the landfill was added last year, with the help of a state impact grant. According to Schreiber, it will last roughly another one and a half to two years and a sixth cell will be added sometime in the coming year.