Solid Waste District efficiency measures to reduce days at Sand Draw, Lander & Dubois

(Lander, Wyo.) – The Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District Board approved 10 of 14 efficiency recommendations Monday morning in Lander to streamline operations and reduce costs to keep the district solvent. The actions were also taken to use the savings to help fund future landfill closure costs by reducing expenditures and inefficiencies now. The recommendations were made by two engineering firms, Trihydro and HDR, and resulted from a study began last October.

The details will be communicated to the county commissioners and the county’s municipal governments in the near future and will be the subject of at least four public meetings, one each in Lander, Riverton, Dubois and Shoshoni. The District also plans to initiate a public relations campaign to explain the changes to the public and why they are being made.

Among the changes coming are a reduction in the days of operation at the Sand Draw and Lander landfills to five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, which would save the district $500,000 per year. The Dubois transfer station/landfill would be reduced to being open from five days a week to three days, and from 8 hours a day to 6 hours. Additionally, all household municipal solid waste (MSW) would be diverted to the Lander landfill for the short term. District Superintendent Andy Frey explained that by doing so, the life of the Sand Draw landfill south of Riverton could be extended. Sand Draw would still accept construction and demolition waste. “By taking this action, the Lander landfill’s permitted capacity would be reached by it’s mandated closure date in 2023,” he said.

Other recommendations approved Monday include consolidating the district’s two baling stations into one and repurposed to handle recyclables instead of waste. Instead of baling the municipal waste, the loose waste will be compacted and delivered to Lander. 

“What Andy and the report is telling us is that we are not using the the balers effectively. It’s cheaper to go in and do active fill, and if we don’t make some of these changes the district will go broke,” said Board member Rick Klaproth of rural Shoshoni. “If you find yourself in a hole, you stop digging,” Morgan said. “We’ll hold the line on costs for the public while building a necessary closure reserve. By changing the operational use (of the landfills) we maximize their life expectancy. We haven’t thrown them (balers) out the window, we’re just changing how we’re using them.”

Board member Steve Baumann of Lander agreed with Morgan. “It’s not that far fetched to say it was a really good idea when we implemented the balers, but the current review indicated it’s not the best utilization for the space and not as cost effective as we hoped it would be,” he said. “So were doing something that is now more cost effective. We’ll just use them in a different way.”

Additionally, the board voted to keep the Hudson Transfer Station open while closing the Shoshoni Landfill in 2018. Volunteer programs for the District’s low volume, low hazards transfer stations will be encouraged and, to save $1.5 million each, landfill caps will be recommended to be water balance caps.

The board members declined to make any changes with its current recycling partner, Community Entry Services.

The district is expected to save around $17-million when these changes are implemented, beginning on July 1st this year.

While not all of the details have been worked out, board member Mike Morgan of Dubois said the board is “making a global decision with internal decisions yet to be made by Andy (Frey) with the commercial haulers to the landfills.” Those haulers include Wyoming Waste Management, Hopper Metals and the City of Riverton.

Due to the volume and advanced time needed for the City of Riverton to comply with the changes, Frey said he would work with the city through the end of the year to make the transition as smooth as possible.