Moffat County taking steps to address windblown trash from 200-acre Craig landfill
May 11, 2017
Two weeks after Moffat County resident Floyd Gutierrez complained to commissioner about windblown trash on his property, the county is taking steps to address the problem.
"If I was in his position, I'd feel the same way he did," said Moffat County Commissioner Ray Beck, who visited Gutierrez's property after learning of the problem. "We don't want Mr. Gutierrez's property to be an extension of the dump."
Construction on a new entry road into the landfill began Tuesday to close a 100-foot-wide gap in the fence that sits directly in front of the current pit where garbage is dumped. The layout allows trash to blow straight out of the landfill, partially contributing to the issues Gutierrez has had with the landfill for 21 years.
"That's what they should've done to start with," Gutierrez said of the fix, though he expressed appreciation for the commissioners' attention to the matter.
Moffat County Road & Bridge Director Dan Miller also drafted a resolution that would close the landfill two hours early two days a week to allow landfill staff to collect windblown trash from the fence line. Commissioners will review the resolution on Tuesday.
"We're… trying to get something started," Miller said. " I think this will fix the problem, but if not, we'll address it further."
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Gutierrez's fields are cleaner now than they were when he first began lodging complaints with Miller and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment in March. Inmates from the Moffat County Jail picked up trash on five occasions in April, according to a timeline provided by Miller, who himself picked up trash alongside Road & Bridge staff on another occasion.
But plastic bags, campaign signs and other debris still remain in the sagebrush surrounding Gutierrez's alfalfa field that borders the north boundary of the landfill, as well as bits of 'confetti,' or small pieces of trash broken down by wind and weather. And he's not confident the proposed solutions will resolve the problem.
"The wind blows whenever it wants to blow, it doesn't just blow the day(s) they shut down early," Gutierrez said. "My idea of a permanent solution is to cover up the trash at night and keep it clean."
Floyd wants the landfill to follow state regulations that require landfills to cover trash daily with dirt to prevent windblown trash. But Moffat County Landfill was granted a waiver from the six-inch cover requirement due to a soil shortage. Nonetheless, Miller said they've changed their practices in recent weeks.
"We are putting on more daily cover every day," he said. Though not a full six inches, "we're just trying to get full cover so it doesn't blow every night. And Saturdays we do a full six inches."
Miller pointed out that if the landfill covered trash with six inches of dirt every day, "that's three feet of trash space we lose every week."