State scores landfill 93 percent
The FAA Road landfill operated by Community Waste Solutions scored a 93 during its annual state inspection July 17, an improvement over last year’s score of 77 and 47 in 2011.
Company president Tom Hall said his firm has spent more than $150,000 in recent years to bring the facility up to state standards, including hiring consultant Burl Sheldon and local firm Chilkat Environmental.
“The fact is, the landfill is in order now. We’ve done a lot of things to be competitive… I don’t feel anybody can say we’re contaminating water or not meeting the requirements of the state,” Hall said.
In October Hall will make a proposal to the Haines Borough for consolidated service with mandatory pickup, he said. The proposal would include “what consolidated and unified service would look like,” including the cost to customers and what equipment would be required.
Previous discussions of borough cooperation with the company got caught up in the issue of the landfill’s condition, Hall said. “We walked the walk. I feel we’re in a good position if they want to do something. I want to reach some agreement that’s good for the community.”
Sandra Woods, who conducted the Department of Environmental Conservation inspection, cited “hard work” by the company “to resolve these long-standing compliance issues.” In an interview, Woods said the company had put “a lot of time and effort” into the landfill in the past year. “I’m glad to see it.”
CWS scored the maximum of five points in 19 of 31 criteria on which it was rated. Woods noted the company improved its ranking from a “1” to a “4” in “surface and stormwater controls” in the past year, an area of significant improvement. Using car tires, the company built a “French-drain” style diversion ditch to divert water from a spring-like upwelling on the property.
The company’s lowest scores were “1” for having an inactive area uncovered, a “2” for leachate and “3” for litter.
Woods said the uncovered, inactive area of the landfill, on its north side, also was partially to blame for litter at the site. “They’re working on the more egregious problems, but then they’re moving to the other area of the landfill,” she said. Hall said the area would be seeded, capped and closed by the end of next summer. “We’re just using the landfill for construction and demolition waste,” Hall said. “There’s paper that comes with that. We are working hard to contain litter.”
The low score for leachate was because there’s still “leachate-looking” water on the northwest edge of the landfill, its lowest point, Woods said. “There’s still some water coming through there, but it’s nowhere near (the volume) it used to be.”
Hall noted CWS has improved its score on leachate in the past year and that leaching water has passed water quality tests. “Part of our next step is to (reduce) water volume. We’ve moved a lot of water away from the landfill. We did a lot of work to get way less water filtering through.”
Hall said he expects CWS to improve its inspection score three to four points next year.
CWS currently ships mixed municipal waste to a landfill in Washington state. Recyclables go to a recycling separation plant there. Sludge that goes to the landfill is mixed with cardboard, sand, dirt and food waste to make merchantable compost, Hall said.
Hall credited improvement at the site to office manager Sally Garton and operations manager Mike Dorris.