Helena-West Helena’s landfill is beginning to run out of room and Bob Gaston, landfill director, says the city needs to move forward with expansion plans.
Helena-West Helena’s landfill is beginning to run out of room and Bob Gaston, landfill director, says the city needs to move forward with expansion plans. According to Gaston, the landfill expansion to come as early as 2014. He states that the landfill has enough space permitted to last until Oct. 1, 2014. However, normal ADEQ procedure requires that before running out of space, an additional 3.1 acres needs to be permitted before October. “We hope to put out bids by the beginning of May 2014 and would like to have construction start around the middle of June,” commented Gaston. Gaston reported that the landfill expansion account is currently between $100,000 and $340,000 short of the required permitting dues as a result of the money the city borrowed to make payroll. “We have prided ourselves on successfully running a inexpensive landfill for Phillips County and the surrounding cities and counties but with the loss of population and our funds depleting, we really need to look into this issue now rather than later,” said Gaston. Gaston stressed that for now he is simply reminding the city that the $300,000 that was borrowed out of the landfill expansion account needs to be replaced before May 2014. “Without the second phase of the landfill project, which permits us to continue running on the new 3.1 acres, we will fall under closure procedure,” Gaston added. Gaston noted that if the landfill closes, the waste loads will have to be taken to Crittenden County where they can charge anything they want and that would end up costing the city more. “The city needs to start paying back what has been loaned,” said Gaston. Gaston reported that the mayor has a meeting with the waste district next week and explained that there are several items coming down the pipeline. “We have a lot of good things to come and finally after 20 years I think we’ll have something more concrete but the last thing we want to do now is to give ADEQ and the consolidating waste district a negative image,” he said. Gaston hopes the landfill will be able to move forward and continue running for years to come because, “Based on the equipment the city currently has, I’m not sure how we would get the waste loads to Crittenden County,” stated Gaston in a phone interview with The Helena World.