The Woodward News

Local News

August 15, 2013

Landowners want trash concerns addressed

(Continued)

Woodward, Okla. — HELP WITH ENFORCEMENT

The landowners all said that much of their frustrations stem from the lack of enforcement of a state law that says trash being hauled to a landfill must be secured with a tarp or in a closed container.

Landfill Manager Lance Hensley said the landfill tried to do its part to curtail this problem by charging more to those who failed to secure their load when they come dump.

"We were double charging for people's loads that were not secured, but then we got shut down," Hensley said.  "Someone from some agency came and told us that we don't have the authority to enforce that by charging more."

Rather it seems to be up to law enforcement to be willing to monitor the trash traffic and fine those who are not adhering to the secured-load rules.

"If they would just start writing fines, and it wouldn't take too many times, by the time you fined 3 people $1,000, word would get around town and stop this dumping," Vic Terbush said.

"Is there a way we can get the Sheriff's Office more involved?" Larry Endersby asked.

County Commissioner Vernie Matt, who was also in attendance because the roads around the landfill are in his district, said "I can sure talk to him (Sheriff Gary Stanley)."

But while many enforcement issues may fall outside the authority of the landfill board and landfill employees, the landowners did feel there were other things that could be done at the landfill to help the situation.

"Some of this might be out of the scope of the landfill board, but we also believe this board has a responsibility to protect the environment, livestock and the people living near the landfill," Guthrie said.

One of their recommendations was for the landfill to look into getting a new magnet for the tractor they take around to try to pick up nails and other loose metal pieces that fall from the trucks hauling trash to the landfill.

The landfill manager agreed that a new magnet would be a good investment.

"We try to run the magnet 2 times a week on the main traveled roads around the landfill, but we know we don't get all of the nails and things.  I think a new magnet would be a good idea," Hensley said.

Especially since the current magnet has already had to be rebuilt and has lost some of its power, he said.

Hensley then promised the landfill board that he would check into whether there was a state bid out for the magnets so he could potentially proceed with purchasing  a new one, which he estimated would cost around $7,000 to $8,000.

Another recommendation the landowners made was to look into having an after hours drop-off point.  They said that part of the problem is that people who go out in the evening will find out the landfill is closed and instead of hauling their load back again will dump it on one of their county roads.

Again Hensley said the landfill tried having an after-hours drop off location, "but they would dump all the way around it, not in it."

"That's better than on our roads though," Miller said.

But beyond being messy, the after-hours drop off would present a problem because there is no way to charge those who use it. And once people find out they can dump for free at night, the landfill would lose money because they would likely stop coming to dump during the day, when there is a fee.

Also Hensley said the after-hours drop off would bring up problems with the Department of Environmental Quality because there is no way to monitor whether someone was dumping hazardous materials.

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