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home : news : news Tuesday, May 24, 2016

9/18/2013 Email this articlePrint this article 
County landfill cited for litter control

By Jeremy Huss
Staff writer

The Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR) has reprimanded the Clinton County Area Solid Waste Agency (CCASWA) for litter and exposed waste observed during a routine site visit Aug. 7.

The DNR Aug. 12 issued a letter of non-compliance that faults CCASWA for failure to provide daily cover in the west area of the working face of the landfill in an area that appeared undisturbed by ongoing landfill activities.

The letter, issued by environmental specialist Brian Lee, states erosion may have played a factor in exposing some of the waste, but sufficient daily cover still is required.

Staff were reminded any area that has not received waste for more than 30 days requires at least one foot of cover, and any area that has not received waste for more than 180 days requires two feet of cover.

The letter noted litter and/or exposed waste observed north of the working face did not appear to be from the day's activities and suggested additional staff may be needed to properly remove litter daily as required.

The letter also notes erosion problems and states a previously detected leachate seep has not been repaired effectively after several attempts, adding the agency plans to install an interceptor pipe to remediate the leachate problem.

At the Sept. 12 meeting of the CCASWA board of directors, agency director Brad Seward said the area of the landfill where exposed waste was observed now is being used actively for landfilling

Seward said it appears the DNR has "gotten pickier" about litter, but he acknowledged litter control is a required part of daily operations.

According to Seward, the DNR inspected the closed Welton landfill Sept. 12 but CCASWA has not yet received the report.

He said the only issue he is aware of is a possible small leachate seep. No agency staff were present for the inspection, and the inspector did not know the waste boundary at the site, leading Seward to speculate the potential seep actually is water that tends to collect in a drainage ditch.

Engineering consultant CJ Lage said it's important staff mow closed landfill areas regularly to help identify erosion ruts that could compromise the landfill caps.

"If it's mowed regularly, we can catch things earlier and prevent long-term issues and costs," Lage said.

Cardboard recycling could increase

CCSAWA has the opportunity to increase its recycling revenue due to the potential to receive additional cardboard, but it may not have sufficient staff and equipment to make it work, Seward reported.

"The agency has been approached about additional business recycling, and I am evaluating with staff. It's cardboard that currently is going out of state. If we can handle it without having to massively upgrade, it could bring in more funds," Seward said.

When asked, Seward said he considers a massive upgrade the purchase of a new boiler and hiring additional staff.

Recycling center staff member Ed Clark Jr. said CCASWA would need more workers if it begins receiving more recycled materials. Current staff are backlogged with newspaper and don't have time to bale more cardboard without adding to the backlog, he said.

Camanche representative Trevor Willis suggested CCASWA could accept the additional cardboard, buy a new baler and market its cardboard recycling to additional businesses.

Seward said there are opportunities to source more cardboard, noting it is "one of the commodities we are paid pretty handsomely for."

He said the question is how many more bales of cardboard the agency can produce in a day compared to the cost of hiring additional staff.

Bioreactor closure update

There has been no progress on a plan to dismantle the agency's broken bioreactor because the one inquiry received would have cost CCASWA more than expected, Seward said.

Camanche and Clinton representatives expressed surprise there would be any cost to the agency at all due to the scrap value of the equipment. Seward did not specify the amount of the quote received, saying he didn't want to spoil the bidding process.

"The thought is we're going to contact multiple companies to see where the ballpark is," he said.

Clinton representative Jennifer Graf proposed contacting legal counsel to prepare a formal request for proposals (RFP).

However, engineering consultant CJ Lage said it would be best to first conduct a site tour with company representatives to "feel them out," then re-group and draft an RFP.

"Typically with an RFP we have a package with engineering estimates. Right now, I can't say if it costs $100,000 or earns the agency $100,000," Lage said.

"I just can't see where it would cost us anything," Willis stated.

"I can't say that," Lage replied.

Seward agreed to make contact with regional scrap metal facilities, specifically mentioning Behr Iron and Metal, Alter Metal Recycling and Dittmer Recycling.

"It may not be as easy as you think it will," cautioned Goose Lake representative Dave Richards.

Richards said the city of Goose Lake has a metal water tower the city can't afford to dismantle despite the scrap value of the material.

"It may be we're stuck with it until we can plan for a new fiscal year," Seward said.

Employee handbook update

Seward agreed to contact human resources consultant Paul Greufe regarding updating CCASWA's employee handbook, which is out of date.

Clinton and Clinton County both contract with Greufe for human resources services.

Seward said he also will gather input from staff and asked agency members to bring any suggestions for revisions.

"We want to move forward but we don't want to be hasty with it," he said.

Graf said the revisions should include language regarding evaluations of CCASWA staff and the director.

Other business

In other business:

•CCASWA has approved a waste disposal contract with Allied Republic Waste, Seward reported.

The contract rate is for $25 per ton with a minimum of 1,500 tons per year, which will bring in revenue of at least $37,500.

Seward said the contract is for commercial and business waste only from Clinton County.

•CCASWA will be closed to the public Sept. 25 for the completion of asphalt patching and overlay of the landfill's entry road.

Notification will be sent to waste haulers. The work is expected to take one day.

•A computer server was replaced at a cost of $4,800 after CCASWA was warned of an imminent failure in August.

•No action was taken on a proposal from Clinton representative Jennifer Graf to lower the city of Clinton's landfill rates due to lack of a second from other directors.

Graf again requested the proposal remain on CCASWA's agenda as old business.

•Landfill operator Brock Swanson of Progress Contracts proposed revising its three-year operations contract to include language that would allow for a three-year extension at the end of the original term if there has been no change in price and CCASWA chose not to seek competitive bids.

Either party would have the right to reject the extension. Swanson was asked to bring a proposal in writing for the board to consider.

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