By John L. Braese
VALE – People looking to get rid of garbage around the house now have one less day to dispose it after the Malheur County Court approved closing the Lytle Boulevard Landfill on Saturdays beginning Saturday.
The closure will continue through the end of December 2017.
The move comes after the amount of garbage going into the facility has increased to a point where the county may lose its state permit to operate as a small dump.
The state Department of Environmental Quality stipulates that the landfill can only take in 20 tons of garbage per day. Currently, the landfill is averaging 21.35 tons per day, a 6 percent increase over last year.
“We really don’t now why it has increased,” said Craig Geddes, director of Malheur County Environmental Health. “We just know we are over the limit.”
Although historically the last three months of the year see a decrease in dumping, at the current rate the average would still come in at 20.65 tons per day, above the permit.
“If we end the year above the 20-ton limit, we lose our permit as a small facility,” said Geddes. “We would then need to spend millions doing things like liners and setting up monitoring stations. This county cannot afford what would need to be done if we go above the 20-ton limit.”
The county is estimating the closure on Saturdays will save about one-third ton a day.
In addition to the closing on Saturdays until the end of the year, the court also went with the department’s recommendation to no longer accept large containers referred to as dump boxes. These containers are commonly rented for a short duration at construction sites.
“This move is permanent,” Geddes said. “These are the large 20-yard rectangular containers that are loaded on the back of trucks and hauled away. These are not the small ones you see outside a grocery store.”
One option the county is considering decreases the tonnage of garbage, but also decreases money coming into the county.
Currently, Fox Sanitation Service of Parma uses the Malheur County landfill. Fox pays the county $60,000 to $70,000 annually. If Fox was forced to take garbage to the Payette landfill, Malheur County’s tonnage and revenue would decrease.
Geddes met with owners of Fox Sanitation, S&S Disposal of Nyssa, Ontario Sanitary Service and the city of Vale to explain the need to cut back on waste going to the landfill.
“The city of Vale understood and have voluntarily quit loaning out four-yard dumpsters to residents,” Geddes said.
Long term, if population rises or new businesses open, the 20-ton per day limit will continue to be a problem.
“We may have to look at some type of recycling program county wide so stuff stays out of the landfill,” said Geddes. “The problem will only get worse as the county grows.”
Have a news tip? Contact reporter John L. Braese at (541) 473-3377
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