Partnerships make difference for county landfill operations

Photo by Deb Gau A new loading station for hauling away leachate — a type of landfill runoff — was built this year at the Lyon County landfill. The pumping station stands near one of the landfill’s leachate holding ponds.

LYON COUNTY — Partnership is a strategy that’s working well for the Lyon County landfill, county employees said Thursday night. By working together with other southwest Minnesota counties and organizations like Advance Opportunities in Marshall, Lyon County is working to increase recycling and proper waste disposal in the region.

In one example, new recycling programs for mattresses and car seats have saved space for more than 800 tons of trash in the landfill, Lyon County Environmental Administrator Roger Schroeder said.

On Thursday, Schroeder updated members of the Landfill Advisory Board on developments at the Lyon County landfill, as well as a proposed budget for 2018. The advisory board is made up of commissioners from area counties that bring waste to the Lyon County landfill.

Part of Schroeder’s presentation included statistics on the number of mattresses, box springs and car seats that recycling programs have diverted from the landfill so far. As of the end of August, he said, employees from Advance Opportunities have broken down more than 600 car seats, 700 box springs and 1,100 mattresses. The materials from the car seats and mattresses are collected for recycling.

All that recycling has positive results for the landfill, Schroeder said. Mattresses have a lot of air space, and take up a lot of room in landfills. The volume of mattresses the recycling program kept from going into the Lyon County landfill could be replaced by an estimated 843 tons of other waste.

Schroeder said the landfill is also partnering with Lincoln County to collect certain types of farm waste, like seed bags, silage tarp and bale twine, for recycling.

Another partnership — this one regional — has the goal of spreading information about recycling and waste disposal, and encouraging people to recycle. Schroeder said Lyon County is part of the Southwest Regional Solid Waste Commission, a group serving 12 counties in southwest Minnesota. The SWRSWC website has information ranging from contact information for area waste haulers, to available recycling programs, and information on safely disposing of hazardous materials and medical waste.

“It’s something we can start using as a clearinghouse to get to the public,” Schroeder said. In the Marshall area, the group has also created video public service announcements for recycling, featuring local high school athletes.

“The message is getting shared on social media,” Schroeder said. So far, he said, the videos have gotten more than 5,000 views on Facebook and more than 6,000 views on Instagram.

• In other business at Thursday’s meeting, Schroeder said there have been some physical updates to the landfill over the past year. A new loading station was built for trucks hauling leachate — runoff that forms from rainwater and decomposing garbage — away from the landfill for disposal. Schroeder said the loading station has gotten positive responses from leachate haulers working for the county.

Schroeder said the landfill is also in the process of repairing a damaged spot in the lining of the leachate holding ponds, and a new loading dock area has been built for materials like electronics, which can’t be disposed of at the landfill.

In the next year, Schroeder said, the landfill will be facing some equipment replacement costs, as well as planning and engineering to open a new four-acre area for putting waste in the landfill. The new “cell” portion is planned to be opened up in 2019, he said.

Another change affecting the Lyon County landfill in the future was an anticipated growth in customers, Schroeder said. Redwood and Renville counties are currently in a partnership for waste disposal, but it’s anticipated they will start hauling waste to Lyon County within the next couple of years.

• Members of the Landfill Advisory Board reviewed a proposed 2018 budget for the Lyon County landfill. The proposal included expenses of about $2.1 million, and revenue of about $2.7 million. Board members voted to recommend the proposal to the Lyon County Board.