Closure order at Lander landfill tied to small contamination, officials confirm

May 19, 2014 By Kelli Ameling, Staff Writer

Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District superintendent Andy Frey says a "small detection" of contamination is what caused the decision to close Lander's landfill in 2023.

During the May 8 Fremont County Association of Governments meeting in Riverton, Frey said the solid waste board of trustees approved nine amendments, which will save about $16 million by closing certain facilities and more.

"I am just the enforcer," Frey said, noting that if anyone who had a problem with the decision could attend meeting to express their opinions.

One of the amendments includes filling Lander's landfill as much as possible by transferring household waste to the facility before capping it off in 2023.

Dubois Mayor Twila Blakeman asked Frey what the difference was between having a certain the current amount of waste in the landfill and trying to push as much as possible into within the next nine years.

Wind River Transportation Authority Benjamin Eastmond agreed and wanted Frey to clarify if the permit from the state would "run out" 2023.

Frey said the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality detected contamination in dirt at the landfill.

Because of the detection, Frey said, DEQ established a time frame for how long the landfill can stay open to prevent further contamination.

Eastmond asked if it was possible to ask the state to extend the time frame.

"I have asked, and I keep getting a 'no way,'" Frey said.

Members of the FCAG board criticized how the Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District board of trustees handled the decision making on the nine amendments.

Riverton Mayor Ron Warpness said he felt people in the county are "being pushed into it."

"I am concerned," Warpness said. "There is a nine-member board, and no one from Riverton is represented on it."

Warpness said he understands people have to live with a lot of change, but described this change as "important" and thought there should have been more say for community members.

"The community needs to be considered," Warpness said.

Frey, as he took notes of what FCAG member had to say, said there were public hearings during the planning process, and no one from the communities came. The meetings were advertised in local media.

Members of the board pointed out with meetings being at 9:30 a.m. on Mondays, it made it difficult for working individuals to attend.

Frey said special meetings were scheduled, but again no one came. He noted three seats that will be vacant and applications are due by November for those wanting to run or know someone who would like to run.

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