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2/8/2018 County’s landfill supervisor: facility meets all standards
The Wet Mountain Rotary chapter hosted Custer County Landfill Supervisor Rusty Christensen last Monday for a candid question and answer session on the current status and future directions of the facility. It was pretty much all good news, as Christensen fielded audience questions with calm assurance that matters there were all in compliance with state requirements, and that plans for future testing—ground water quality drilling—would most likely establish continued meeting of current standards. After ten years with the county Road and Bridge crew, Christensen began guiding the landfill operation 20 years ago. “We’re in good shape,” he said, “and while it has been difficult for our small county to accomplish, we have maintained compliance with standards.” He projects that the landfill, about two miles east of Highway 69S on Rosita Road (CR 328), has about six years until full capacity is reached, and that plans for expanding on county land immediately to the east of the current trenches are appropriately underway. That expansion could conceivably serve the county for another 15 to 20 years. While planning proceeds with the Board of County Commissioners, the Colorado Department of Health and Environment is the approving agency for county trash treatment operations. All things considered, Christensen pointed out, it seems the best option for the county and its growth is simply expanding the current facility, rather than looking into establishing a more costly and unwieldy transfer station. An encouraging and supportive note that Christensen struck had to do with recycling efforts in the county. “A lot of people are recycling...It’s getting better every year, especially with cardboard…People are trying to do the right thing.” Recycling of course impacts cubic yard usage positively, and the cardboard baling operation there creates income for the annual budget of about $246,000; total fees and income last year, including recycling benefits, came to about $208,000. Although the landfill gets busier and busier, last year’s 18,000 cubic yards of trash compacted and covered is a fairly consistent annual total. When asked what the most demanding operational issue was at the landfill, Christensen said as fast as the wind itself: “Wind! It blows all the time there, and we do a good job of chasing after it, trying to clean up asap.” Crows, interestingly, are a critter problem, ranking higher on the nuisance value than rodents and other birds. They dig up the covered trash, and of course, it then blows about. The rules and regulations governing citizens’ using the landfill, its hours of operation and fees are all accessible on the county website, www.custercountygov.com, at the landfill link. Printed lists of what can and cannot be taken in are also available at the landfill. Christensen and his three employees continue training, education, and certification annually, and tend to our trash with the best interests of the county in mind. – W.A. Ewing