Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Landfill firm to offer plan for compliance


Community Waste Solutions will present a plan late next month for coming into compliance with state environmental regulations by 2015, company spokesman Burl Sheldon said this week.

“We still have a lot of work to do, no doubt about it. But there’s no reason to expect the landfill won’t be scoring into the 90s on its (state) inspection next October,” Sheldon said.

Following an Aug. 14 inspection, the state Department of Environmental Conservation last month gave the operation a 77 percent score, up from 47 percent in 2011.

The inspection report faulted the company for items including litter, setback violation, odor, and areas of ponded water filled with solid waste.

“I am aware that you have been working with an engineer to resolve the issue of spring water flowing through the center of your landfill, however, I cannot stress enough the importance of fixing this issue as soon as possible,” wrote DEC environmental specialist Sandra Woods.

Woods recommended moving the working face of the landfill away from the water, shrinking the working face and more frequently covering it.

In an interview this week, Woods said that a change in the state’s grading system was part of the reason for the difference in scoring. Numerical scoring is used to give facilities a chance to make incremental improvements toward compliance, she said.

Woods said she was pleased to see the company has expanded the fill area east and south. The company has cleared trees and created more space away from water sources. “Diversion of water will be a big (issue) to get rid of,” she said.

Community Waste Solutions recently released a “community update,” reporting progress in several areas and favorable results from water quality tests conducted for it by Chilkat Environmental of Haines.

The upcoming plan will address covering old landfill areas with soil, regularly covering construction and demolition materials, reducing windblown litter and animal attractants, and dealing with a long-term problem of surface water mixing with waste, Sheldon said.

Mixed, municipal waste arriving at the FAA Road dump currently is shipped to a landfill in eastern Washington.

Sheldon said items still being buried at the site include construction waste and other items like non-food plastic and old furniture that doesn’t create leachate or off-site litter and doesn’t attract animals.

Mixed waste, food waste and odor inside the company’s receiving building attracted bears that ripped through the metal structure, causing more than $4,000 in damage last summer. The company plans to address the issue by putting an electric fence around the building before July.

The company is covering with soil areas of the landfill where required and will finish that work in 2014 after installation of permanent drainage structures. The company either will buy land or remove waste to comply with a 50-foot setback requirement next year, Sheldon said.

Next year’s work will include installing two or more “permanent drainage structures” to divert and capture water and reduce contact with waste, he said.

Sheldon said the company is working toward residential “single-stream recycling” in which all recyclables – numerous types of plastic, tin, paper, cardboard and aluminum – go into a single bag that is sorted in the Lower 48.

Communities that have a single-stream system recycle in greater volumes, he said.

The company also may have commercially sellable compost by next summer, he said.

In a separate report, Chilkat Environmental said samples from four, downslope sites around the landfill found no water quality violations. However, because state law requires minimizing contact between surface water and landfill waste, new drainages should be installed and an impermeable cover such as clay should be added to keep surface water from buried waste, the environmental firm wrote.


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