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Reservation trash station collected $700 in fees; officials say it's 'filthy'

Mar 6, 2013 - By Christina George, Staff Writer

Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District superintendent Andy Frey said a little more than $700 in revenue was collected in January from non-enrolled members who discarded trash at transfer stations on the Wind River Indian Reservation.

January was the first full month since the waste disposal district and the Northern Arapaho and Eastern Shoshone tribes agreed in December to a six-month contract for waste collection on the reservation.

Under the agreement, the tribes pay staff to operate their transfer stations, collect fees from users, and the district hauls the waste to the county's landfills at the county's expense.

The agreement also stipulates a waiver of tipping fees for enrolled tribal members who discard waste at one of the four transfer stations on the reservation.

Frey shared the revenue figure with the district's board of directors at its Feb. 18 meeting after board members Jerry Crews and Rich Klaproth described a recent visit to some of the reservation sites.

The two voiced positives and negatives they observed, including a variation of how helpful and knowledgeable employees were at each site. Crews and Klaproth said the fenced-in areas at the sites were clean, but conditions varied outside the fences.

The two said the Fort Washakie site was in poor shape.

"It was filthy," Crews said. "Crap everywhere."

The two said there was quite a bit of trash around the Ethete transfer station but not as much as what they saw at Fort Washakie.

They said the transfer station on 17 Mile Road was spotless.

Frey said the Wind River Environmental Quality Commission continues to work on public education and staff training.

He said representatives from the district and reservation continue to meet and discuss the situation. He pointed out that tribal officials are aware of both successes and areas of improvement with each site.

Frey said one of the reasons Crews and Klaproth encountered employees with varying knowledge of operations is because there is a high employee turnover rate. He said some staff have quit, others have walked off. He added those who are still on the job continue to learn about the functions of the sites.

"It seems that they are getting a pretty good understanding with all the issues with running a site," Frey told the board.

Frey said later that a special committee comprised of district board members and tribal officials continues to meet at least once a month to discuss the ongoing work.

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