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Landfill operations raise questions

Posted: Friday, Nov 16th, 2012

Editor’s note: This is the first of two articles dealing with the county landfill operations.


Pioneer Reporter

BRIDGER VALLEY –After several months of research, I still have more questions than answers…

The Uinta County Commissioners recently approved the re-privatization of the Bridger Valley landfill, when they signed a 45-month $666,000 contract with Reese Construction. The contract began on Oct. 1.

According to a report obtained from Uinta County Treasurer Terry Brimhall, the cost comparison budget for the landfill will be $182,618.99 per fiscal year under the new contract. For the last two years the landfill has operated by Uinta County at a cost of $136,964.24. The additional cost to taxpayers under the new contract will be approximately $40,635.88. The additional cost to the approximately 22,000 residents in Uinta County is nearly $2 per person.

Also, another additional cost to taxpayers will be about $5,000 which will cover the cost of a DEQ permit re-write for the Bridger Valley landfill, to show that a private contractor rather than Uinta County will be operating the landfill. It may require an extension of the AOC permitting beyond Dec. 31.

According to a bid analysis report prepared for the Uinta County commissioners, at their request, by Uinta County Landfill Coordinator Clay Baird, “Prior to the 2010-2011 fiscal year, contracts to operate both the Uinta County landfills were held by Rees Construction. Rather than renewing those contracts, Uinta County Commissioners, chose to rebid both landfills with county employees and equipment. The bids and awards process was poorly handled by the county, resulting in strong feelings, and many believe in commission turnover.”

In the fall of 2011, Baird was again instructed by the commission to “bid out the operation,” of the landfill.

According to Uinta County Commissioner’s meeting minutes, during the March 6, commissioner’s meeting Baird was instructed by commissioners to, “get the bids on the street,” and have them ready for review, by the March 20 meeting.

During the Aug. 7 meeting, the same day bids were opened, the commission in a split vote decided to postpone the awarding of any contract until the Aug. 21 meeting.

Two bids were received by the county – CME Enterprises LLC bid of $627,750 and Rees Construction bid $666,000.

There were technical inadequacies in both bids, neither bid exactly met stipulations included in the instructions to bidders. However, included in the contract offering and instructions to bidders, the commissioners reserve the right to waive any formality or discrepancy in the county’s best interest.

According to Program Manager at the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality Bob Doctor there are 50 landfills in Wyoming that are currently accepting solid waste throughout the state. Only one other in Torrington is privately operated.

Monitoring of closed landfills typically, according to Doctor, continues for 30 years after the landfill is closed, but the liability of a closed landfill is forever. Landfills can be a source of pollution for several hundred years.

“When you throw something away, it is never away,” Doctor said.

Liability for any damage to the environment, according to Doctor, is the responsibility of the county, no matter who is operating the landfill.

Doctor stated he has used photographs of some landfills throughout the state, including the Bridger Valley landfill, that he uses for training purposes when instructing landfill operators, “ how not to operate a landfill.”

He said neighbors of the Bridger Valley landfill have complained about litter, flies and odors. Doctor said, previous to the county taking over the operation of the landfill, “inspectors of the landfill have voiced to him environmental concerns and have over the last several years, had difficulty bring the Bridger Valley landfill back into compliance.”

During the 2010-2011 fiscal year, non-compliance issues at the landfill resulted in the Wyoming DEQ fining the county $11,000. That figure was later negotiated down to $5,000.

For the complete article see the 11-16-2012 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 11-16-2012 paper.

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