Dealing with trash is a growing issue in the Mat-Su Borough. The borough’s solid waste division is millions in the red, and user fees are not making up the difference. Now, the Mat-Su may be laying the groundwork for a community-driven recycling program to take pressure off of the landfill.
At Monday night’s meeting of the Talkeetna Community Council, the most discussed topic was the outline of a plan to incorporate recycling with refuse transfer stations in the Mat-Su Borough. Butch Shapiro is the borough’s solid waste manager. He started Monday’s presentation by explaining how landfills are divided into units called ‘cells:’
“A landfill cell is like a big swimming pool. You have to build this structure to put this stuff in because you don’t want this stuff leaking out into the water system, and those things are expensive.”
The expense comes from measures that are required to prevent toxins from leaking out of the trash and into soil and groundwater. Those cells eventually fill up. Butch Shapiro says that each one is estimated to last for 5-7 years. After that, a new cell is needed. Shapiro says that adds up quickly.
“The last one we built was about $4,350,000. That’s just to open a cell…We have about another $4 million to close a cell to EPA standards.” (more…)