UPRSWDD discusses new billing, claims of hazards at transfer station
July 10, 2019
Two major points of discussion during the July 3 meeting of the Upper Platte River Solid Waste Disposal District (UPRSWDD) were centered around the topic of a centralized billing program currently being pursued by the district. The first involved discussion with former UPRSWDD Chairperson Alysson Sneddon and the second was in reference to comments made by Councilmember Steve Wilcoxson during the July 2 meeting of the Saratoga Town Council.
UPRSWDD Chairman Randy Raymer informed the rest of the board that all three one-year contracts presented to Saratoga, Encampment and Riverside had been approved by the municipalities’ respective governing bodies.
“Much discussion in Saratoga about it, I never heard a word about it from anybody else,” said Raymer.
Raymer then noted Sneddon in the audience, who told the board she had been informed about the pursuit of consolidating the billing for the solid waste district.
“This would be a huge undertaking. I guess, my biggest concern is, as things sit now, people can walk in and pay their bills. That’s available to them Monday through Friday, 8-5ish, at all three locations. If that is moved, that would go away,” said Sneddon. “How could that be supplemented?”
Raymer addressed Sneddon’s questions by informing her that, with the current billing system, certain entities had accounts with all three towns. He added that, while he had been resistant to taking the billing away from the municipalities due to the efficiency and low cost, that was beginning to change.
“That’s why I wanted to have a year to do this, so that we can talk to folks and we’ll have to put together a contract because we’re going to have to contract with each of the three municipalities about how they’re going to dispose of the waste at our facilities. They will no longer get paid a user fee, they will no longer have free landfill,” Raymer said. “In that conversation, couldn’t we write that into our contract with them to allow them to still collect cash, collect checks, to be then forwarded or picked up by whoever the billing system person is in addition to whatever would come to our mailbox or come to us online through a debit card or credit card.”
As discussion continued among the board and with Sneddon, it was suggested by Ellie Dana that the UPRSWDD appoint a project manager to help them pursue the billing program. It was unanimously approved by the board to appoint Sneddon as project manager at a rate of $30 an hour.
At Your Own Risk
Also during the meeting, comments made by Wilcoxson in regards to the approval by the Saratoga Town Council of a one-year contract with the solid waste district were brought up. In a letter to other members of the Saratoga Town Council, Wilcoxson expressed his concern about Sunday closures and what he referred to as “extremely hazardous biological waste” on the floor of the Saratoga Transfer Station.
When asked by the Saratoga Sun if there was any hazard to residents at the transfer station, Raymer began his response by referring to the sign at the entrance to the landfill.
“The very first sign you see coming into the Saratoga facility is ‘Use this facility at your own risk,’” said Raymer. “When the loader scrapes across the floor, it’s going to leave a film across the floor and I suppose it could be some kind of tripping, slipping, hazard there, but I think it is what it is. I don’t think … my 85-year-old mother should be at our facility attempting to deposit their trash. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. We have all kinds of little old people that come out and do stuff like that.”
UPRSWDD member Leroy Stephenson also commented and referred to the recently installed evaporation tank at the Saratoga Transfer Station.
“I think, if I may, that the concern here is that the evaporation in the air might cause some kind of problem in the atmosphere and I can guarantee you, if that was the case, the Department of Environmental Quality would not allow us to have an evaporative tank and I can tell you right now that they wage war on municipal solid waste landfills and lined landfills to a much greater degree then they ever will on the petroleum and coal industry in this state,” said Stephenson.
Raymer followed by reminding the public that any trash deposited at the transfer station by the commercial haulers was waste that came from the residents within the solid waste district.
“This is all waste that came from our homes. So, if we’re talking about ‘Is there hazardous waste in that trash?’ There’s not supposed to be, unless one of you is putting it in there. It is municipal solid waste. MSW. It is coming out from underneath our kitchen sinks, it’s coming out of our garages. We have rules about paint cans. We have rules about oil disposal. We have rules about everything,” Raymer said.
Wilcoxson, who was in attendance at the meeting, told the board that concerns had been expressed to him about human waste inside diapers and he believed it posed a biological hazard. The council member also asked about the wastewater from washing the floor of the transfer station.
“If it was, instead of evaporating it, if it was being shipped out at that point in time, that is a hazardous material,” said Wilcoxson. “Is this not true?”
“No, that is not true,” replied Raymer.
In the final minutes of the meeting, Raymer chidded Wilcoxson for raising concerns from “numerous, nameless faceless constituents.” The chairman added that none of the members of the UPRSWDD board had received calls about Sunday closures or the solid waste on the floor of the transfer station.
“Since the district serves 3,500 people and we are not receiving these complaints, without further action on your part, we have no way to address this topic other than to treat it as a singular personal opinion which is statistically insignificant to our district,” Raymer said.
The next meeting of the UPRSWDD will be on Aug. 7 at Saratoga Town Hall.