BV must close site by Oct., 2007; pellet plan may ease the blow
With no landfill to serve the county, burning Buena Vista refuse to help cut down on energy costs may be the next best option. The details of such a plan are in the works.
Officials are working on a deal that will allow Buena Vista County garbage to be taken to the Cherokee County Landfill, only 22 miles away. Part of the deal requires a different way for Buena Vista County to separate the trash, which will be used to fuel a new bio-energy plant.
Paper, plastics and cardboard will be ground and formed into pellets that will be mixed with biodiesel by Soy Energy, LLC and burned for energy.
"That should be cheaper for us than just burying it," Buena Vista County Landfill Manager Ellsworth Jeppeson said. "It will also make the landfill last longer."
The two landfills have worked together for many years, and Cherokee County has an additional 80 acres it plans to develop into another landfill.
When the Environmental Protection Agency handed down the regulation that requires landfills that do not have synthetic liners, which Buena Vista County's doesn't, to close by October, 2007, the two landfills entered negotiations. Jeppeson said it has been decided Cherokee County will provide the landfill space for Buena Vista, but the details of the deal are still a work in progress.
After the landfill is closed, the Buena Vista County Recycling Center that collects and separates trash will stay in business.
"Nothing changes except we lose the landfill," Jeppeson said. "For the recycling center it will be business as usual."
The amount it will cost the county to use the landfill has not been determined, nor has the cost of new equipment at the recycle center to separate the trash. The pellet project requires new conveyers and a new screen to sort out larger pieces. Jeppeson is sure the county is going to take a hit, but feels it won't be as bad as it could be.
"Any time you lose a landfill it is going to cost some bucks," Jeppeson said. "With the trade for the material to be pelletized, it should be cheaper than normal. In the long run, the county will save money."
Jeppeson expects the recycling center to be outfitted to separate the trash as required within 10 months.
Prior to the regulation, Cherokee County had been taking Buena Vista County's non recyclable debris to save space in the BV Landfill. With the 30-year-old BV Landfill almost full when officials learned it would have to close, the decision was made to fill it with as much solid waste as possible to save the trucking cost to Cherokee County.
Recently the Storm Lake City Council agreed to provide about 40,000 to 60,000 cubic yards of dirt from the spoil site owned by the City of Storm Lake to provide cover for the closing of the landfill.
Given the situation, Jeppeson believes Buena Vista County has gotten off lighter than many of the other counties with landfills that are being effected by the EPA regulation.
"Over half the landfills in the state have been effected by this law," he said. "We are fortunate we have someplace close we can go to."