Budget, recycling discussed at landfill meeting

YON COUNTY – Area officials got the chance to weigh in on topics related to the Lyon County sanitary landfill on Wednesday. Everything from a proposed fee increase to the possibility of mattress recycling was on the agenda at the landfill’s annual meeting.

Members of the Lyon County Board, and commissioners and employees from surrounding counties served by the landfill, were in attendance at the meeting Wednesday night.

The meeting was a chance for county representatives to discuss the landfill’s budget and operations. Lyon County Environmental Administrator Paul Henriksen presented the landfill’s proposed 2015 budget, which included about $2.3 million in estimated revenue and a total of about $1.79 million in expenses. Henriksen said some of the expenses included construction payments and equipment purchases like a used tractor, lawn mower and truck.

Henriksen and consultant Randall Sippel of Liesch Associates said the landfill was considering a $1 increase in tipping fees in 2015, which would bring total tipping fees and surcharges to $48 per ton of trash. Sippel said a fee increase of $1 a year for the next few years, or a slightly more gradual alternative, would help the landfill build up reserves to counterbalance operating and construction costs over the next 10 to 15 years.

Lyon County Board Chairman Rick Anderson encouraged county representatives to gather feedback on the proposed tipping fee increase. The Lyon County Board needs to act to approve 2015 tipping fees by October.

A lot of the discussion at the meeting concerned possible future landfill operations. Henriksen asked whether Lyon County and surrounding counties wanted to consider collecting mattresses for recycling, instead of placing discarded mattresses in the landfill.

“(Mattresses) take up a lot of space, and don’t really pay for themselves,” Henriksen said.

Henriksen said recycling the mattresses would involve having trailers or some kind of storage for discarded mattresses, until they could be hauled to a recycling center in South Dakota. That, in turn, would likely mean an additional charge for mattress recycling. It would also involve a lot of coordination among participating counties.

“I just wanted to bring it up for discussion and see what people think,” Henriksen said. Responses at the meeting were mixed.

Sippel also presented county representatives with information on uses for landfill gas. Lyon County Commissioners had explored the possibility of gas-to-energy measures back in 2009. Currently, methane and other gases produced by decomposing trash is burned off via a flare at the landfill.

Sippel said options for using landfill gas at the Lyon County landfill included using it to generate electricity, collecting it for fuel, or using it to power a heating system that could evaporate leachate (liquid produced by decomposition and rainwater seeping into the landfill). However, he said each of the options would have some disadvantages, like added infrastructure costs, or the landfill being a long distance from electric transmission lines.

Sippel recommended that Lyon County Commissioners work out what their long-term plans and priorities for the landfill are before deciding whether to implement any gas-to-energy measures.