Landfill board discusses pending pilot program, operator contracts, building lighting
The Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District’s (Landfill board) first meeting of 2017 was relatively well attended by the public. Board members discussed the opening of the Valley’s new transfer station.
The $1.3 million transfer station was completed in December, and the board hopes to have it fully operational by May after a pilot program. The board also discussed some costs associated with the construction of the facility, notably the lighting system.
The board, which hopes to have the transfer station fully operational by summer, spent much of the meeting discussing a pilot program to test the facility’s operation in preparation for the facility taking over the Valley’s solid waste needs later this year. The board also discussed contracts and other logistical issues to bring the facility fully online.
The board discussed pilot operations for the facility with the current landfill contractor, Ron Munson, to ensure the facility is ready to go fully online later this year.
Board members Randy Raymer and Sue Jones expressed some concerns over the contract with Munson and whether that contract would permit Munson to manage the pilot program at the new transfer facility.
“We’re under contract with him (Munson) to run the landfill facility under certain criteria until the end of June,” Raymer said.
“I don’t know if we need to ask an attorney or seek legal advice if this is legal to do in the first place,” Jones said. ‘We are changing the scope of his contract with us by allowing him to handle the material in a different manner than he has from day one under his contract.”
Raymer said the board had considered opening a mid-contract bid for a contractor to take over the new transfer station and manage the pilot operations, but Raymer wondered if Munson’s current contract would permit him to start pilot operations at the new facility.
Craig McOmie, of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), one of the agencies involved in the solid waste regionalization project, said while not a lawyer, he thought if the language of the contract was simply to manage the town’s solid waste facility, it likely would not be a problem.
Jones and Raymer then told fellow board members they were concerned that allowing Munson to run the pilot would give him an edge over other bidders in the spring when the contract is up for bid, since Munson would be far more familiar with the facility and the workload, and would thus be better suited to make a bid.
McOmie said that if the board were to keep accurate records about the time and tasks involved in the pilot project, and were to remain transparent by sharing those data with other potential bidders, there would likely not be a problem in the bidding procedure.
The board also discussed some costs for the station. In particular, Raymer was dismayed by a night-time lighting system that makes the building visible from a great distance. The lighting system was described by Raymer as “absurd.”
Board member Leroy Stephenson, participating in the meeting over speakerphone while on vacation, called the system “wasted illumination” and said he found it difficult to believe that a lighting designer would come up with such a lighting system without considering light pollution.
Raymer said he spoke to an electrician about removing the lights from the sensor that turns them off and on depending on atmospheric lighting, but the lights have a battery backup, Raymer said, meaning the lights will come on no matter what and will only go out after the battery backup is dead. In cold weather, Raymer said, the batteries will then freeze and be ruined, meaning the board would have spent a lot of money on an illumination system that was not needed and could not be shut off without damaging the lights.
Engineering Associates, the company that managed the project for the board, took several critiques from board members who said the company and the lighting designer had gone overboard with the lighting system. “That’s another one of those things that didn’t get reviewed with us,” Raymer said. “Who works out there at night?”
Craig Kopascz, of Engineering Associates, said the lighting design was industry standard for a building of that type, according to lighting experts he spoke to.
The next meeting of the landfill board will be 7 p.m. March 1 at Encampment Branch Library.