08/10/11 — Landfill forced to expand, build new cell

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Landfill forced to expand, build new cell

By Steve Herring
Published in News on August 10, 2011 1:46 PM

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Recycling site attendant Tom Sutton walks to the recycling containers at the Dudley Recycling Center located at the Wayne County Landfill. Recycling has been a major factor in extending the life span of landfill cells.

DUDLEY -- Bids on a new $2 million, 22-acre landfill cell are expected back within the next month and once awarded it should take about five months to construct. The timeline is such that the new cell would open just prior to the current one being closed out.

The county has been setting aside money for the past several years for the cell, which will be built adjacent to the existing one off Landfill Road west of Dudley. The county will pay cash for the project.

Constructing the cell is much more than just a matter of moving "a lot of soil," said Randy Rogers, assistant director of the county's solid waste department.

The cell will be lined with plastic and include systems to collect water and methane gas that will have to be tied into the existing systems, Rogers said.

"It is a pretty lengthy process," Rogers said. "We hope to have the bids in early August and once we get started it should go pretty quick."

The contractor will have 180 days to build the cell.

The average life span of a landfill cell is about seven and a half years, Rogers said. However, the county has been able to exceed the life span projected by engineers by doing a better job of compacting materials in the landfill, he said.

"We are getting about 30 percent more than initially thought," said Tim Rogers, director of the solid waste department. "I think we have worked hard on putting the most in the space that we have. Spending that much money, the more you can pack in there, the better."

The current landfill cell opened in 2003 and once the new cell opens, the county will not have to worry about another one for several years, he said.

Tim Rogers said he is hopeful that the new cell will be completed at least a couple of months before the old one is closed to allow for a smoother transition.

Both men said that recycling has proven to be a major factor in extending the life span of landfill cells. The state has helped by banning certain items from landfills, Tim Rogers said.

"Everything that you can pull out helps," he said.

Starting back in the 1980s, metal was among the first items to be pulled from the landfills. Prior to that time the metal had been buried, which didn't make sense, Randy Rogers said.

"Now that scrap metal has value," he said. "The biggest contribution has been the cardboard ban. That has probably been the biggest thing. Cardboard is a good resource that can been pulled out."

The most recent to join the growing list of banned items are television sets. A new law that went into effect July 1 banned TVs from landfills. Prior to that time the sets were still buried in the landfill, he said. Other items banned from the landfill are plastics and appliances.

Until recently it was not cost effective to recycle the sets, Rogers said. However, recycling companies have upgraded their equipment and can now handle the sets, he said.

One improvement at the landfill that has proven popular is the new site at the front of the facility where people can unload items without having to actually drive onto the landfill.

Vehicles must still stop on the scales before unloading. Once they have been weighed the vehicles go to an area where an attendant will help people unload the items.

In years past people had to drive onto the landfill, unloading furniture in one area and construction items in another.

"It (new site) is more convenient for the public," Tim Rogers said. "It is more convenient for us, too, not having to give directions, not having to worry about people getting lost."

It also is a matter of safety, he said. The public no longer has to worry about having to drive around the large equipment working at the site.

"I think the public appreciates that," he said.

Along with the landfill, the county operates 13 convenience centers across the county including one at the landfill.

Appliances may be recycled at the landfill and at convenience centers at Grantham, Mitchell Road, Patetown, Pikeville, Rosewood and Seven Springs. Doors must be removed from freezers and refrigerators and the appliances cannot contain any food.

Electronic items may be recycled at the Dudley and Pikeville sites. Items include computers and peripherals, phones, typewriters, adding machines, VCR's camcorders and digital cameras.

Scrap metal can be taken to the landfill, Grantham, Mitchell Road, Patetown, Pikeville, Rosewood and Seven Springs convenience centers.

Paint may be disposed of at the landfill and all 13 convenience centers. Liquids are not accepted. The lid should be removed and the paint allowed to dry out until it is solid or it should be mixed with sand or cat litter.

Furniture and carpet may be disposed of at the landfill and at the Grantham, Patetown, Pikeville, Rosewood and Seven Springs convenience centers.

Empty pesticide and herbicide containers may be disposed of at the Grantham, Patetown, Rosewood and Seven Springs convenience centers only.

Plastics may be recycled at any of the convenience centers. Plastics No. 1 through 7 can be recycled. Plastics can be identified by locating the number inside a triangle, usually located on the bottom of the container. No. 1 plastic should not be mixed with other plastics. No. 2 through 7 can be combined. The county does not recycle plastic bags.

Yard waste -- pine straw, leave, grass clippings, etc. -- is not accepted at the landfill.

Tires may be disposed of at the landfill only in quantities of 10 tires or less at anytime. Quantities of more than 10 may be disposed of on Tuesday and Thursday only.

For a complete listing of items and convenience centers visit waynegov.com.