There's exciting news regarding the Helena-West Helena Landfill. Bob Gaston, landfill manager, presented the city council with a recognition letter from the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality of the landfill's completion plan as proposed back in November 2006. “We actually completed the work in December 2011 but with changes in ADEQ policies we could not be notified sooner,” commented Gaston. “Working toward the completion of the project was made possible by the help of their engineer (ADEQ) Phillip Fields.” Gaston reported that a previous issue concerning the methane probe generated some estimates collected locally and regionally including a bid by Young's Custom Service for $1,000 to $1,200 less than other bids proposed. Gas probes, also known as perimeter or migration probes, are used for subsurface monitoring and detect gas concentrations in the local environment. “Probes typically form a ring around the landfill,” said Gaston. “After reviewing the bids collected, we believe we have the bid that we think will work best,” explained Gaston. “We are hoping to move the bid quickly.” Gaston requested that the council waive the bidding process. Gaston added that the landfill is looking at erosion control. “As we started working on the annual engineering report, we realized that this part of the landfill detailed in the report is not going to be an area of the landfill,” stated Gaston. He said the guidelines stipulate that if an area is not going to be used for waste for more than 60 days there must be some type of erosion control in place. “Without getting wrapped up in a violation, we would like to get this done as soon as possible,” Gaston continued. “We need to get the seeds in the ground and hay on the top to stable a root system with the help of climate conditions.” According to Gaston the council has previously discussed the probes and were waiting for an estimate on the total project. “Right now we are looking at around $100,000 in our checking account, which will fund both of these projects now without touching the expansion fund,” commented Gaston. Gaston stressed that this must be done. It's just a matter of how the city wants to handle it. Gaston said there would be wells about 45 feet deep, all required of the new guidelines implemented for methane probes. “This will be here year around.” Commented Fielder. “Young's service might not be available if they get busy in mid March and it would be nice to meet the probes requirement before the annual engineering deadline.” Gaston stressed that if it is possible to keep the money local, he would be more than willing to hire local experts for the projects. Councilman John Huff suggested that Gaston contact Delta Grass Masters. Councilman Jay Hollowell motioned to ask the city attorney to draw up an ordinance to be presented to waive the competitive bidding process for the methane probes and present it at the next city council session. In the meantime, bid comparisons could be gathered to encourage local business participation.