ARK Regional Services will be shutting down their recycling program in Laramie in May, and that could leave a lot of local businesses with a big cardboard problem on their hands. Big Hollow Food Coop Manager, Marla Peterson, estimates that they fill the ARK recycling dumpster twice a week with cardboard. She says there’s no way the city’s smaller curbside bins could handle that kind of volume.
Today is the last day Ark Regional Services in Laramie will accept glass for recycling.
The organization – which connects intellectually and developmentally disabled people with jobs, education and care – has run a recycling program to help subsidize its operations for 30 years. Although the city also runs a recycling program, the Ark has been the only local entity to recycle glass.
The Park County Board of Commissioners is concerned that its decision to comply with statewide environmental standards by building a new lined landfill cell will continue to take a financial toll on the County if the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality doesn’t act soon.
In order to renew their permits, the DEQ has required operators to prove their landfills aren’t leaking, or to build a leak-resistant lined landfill cell, or move their trash somewhere that’s leak-resistant. Park County built a new lined cell at the Cody landfill.
Many of Wyoming’s landfills are leaking or approaching capacity, so the Department of Environmental Quality is working with state agencies and municipalities to develop and fund a plan to close facilities that aren’t environmentally sustainable, and move new waste to landfills which are.
DEQ Spokesman Keith Guille says the existing landfills in the state are permitted, and were built to environmental standards at the time.
As the state is considering how to shut down many outdated landfills across the state, there’s also a push underway to prevent more waste from going into landfills in the first place. A study from earlier this year shows just 19 percent of municipal solid waste is recycled or composted in the state, putting Wyoming on par with the national average in the early 1990s.
The Wyoming Rural Water Association supports the state’s plan to limit water pollution caused by leaking landfills… But says it’s already taken too long to get started on the effort, and it could be a while before Wyoming sees significant improvements.
At a press conference last week, Governor Matt Mead reminded the public of two bills the legislature passed this session. They created a municipal solid waste landfill remediation program as well as an initiative to help sub-par landfills close and transfer new garbage to better facilities.
Casper residents should think twice before tossing yard clippings in the garbage. In May, the city will begin implementing its ban on putting yard waste in dumpsters to be landfilledas a cost cutting measure.
Casper has a composting program that turns yard waste into wood chips and compost for soil, but branches, grass, leaves and other organic matter still make up about 18-percent of what the city pays to put in the landfill.
Teton County officials say they've detected a carcinogenic chemical in groundwater near an old landfill.
County Engineer Sean O'Malley says methylene chloride has been turning up for the past two years in monitoring wells near the landfill in Horsethief Canyon. The dump operated from the 1950s until the late 1980s.
State standards allow up to 5 parts per billion of methylene chloride in water samples. A test in October showed water from a monitoring well had 28 parts per billion of the chemical.