County backs away from alternate landfill closure idea

ORIGINALLY WRITTEN JERRY ENGLER
The Marion County Commission stepped away Monday from a potentially financially rewarding idea to use commercial and demolition waste instead of fill dirt in part of the closure of the old county landfill southwest of Marion.

Jack Chappelle, consulting engineer from Johnson County on the closing, suggested in a teleconference that in an acre or more area of the landfill with deeper depressions to be filled in, the county could save money by using clean commercial and demolition waste instead of moving dirt for 4,000 to 6,000 cubic yard of fill, if the Kansas Department of Health and Environment was agreeable.

Looking at another area where operators had taken dirt for daily fill, Chappelle said the county might open it up to level the area with 7,000 to 9,000 cubic yards of C&D waste.

The ideas might save hauling some waste from the transfer station to Topeka, he said, and help create some employment.

Commissioner Howard Collett admitted he was attracted to the advantages of using C&D, both as cheaper material than dirt and as an economic benefit, but he, like the other commissioners, had had enough of the landfill after years of lawsuit hassles with KDHE over it.

“If we open up anything again at all, it could be a real problem,” Collett said.

Commissioner Bob Hein said, “I think we just need to use dirt and get it over with.”

Commission Chairman Leroy Wetta said the commission was “in consensus” about what to do.

“Let’s just get it done with no further problems,” Wetta said. “Let’s expedite the thing.”

David Brazil, who in his capacities as transfer station manager, sanitarian, and planning and zoning director, has been working with Chappelle.

Brazil said that the transfer station only receives 50 tons of C&D waste in a high month with the figure often falling to 20 tons. To get the landfill done quickly using C&D, he said, probably would require getting more highly populated neighboring counties such as Harvey and McPherson to bring their C&D.

Wetta said there appeared to be sufficient funding in county accounts for possibly up to a quarter-million-dollar project including everything from engineering to perhaps contracting dirt moving.

Chappelle estimated it might take four or five county road and bridge employees, using upwards of $80,000 in leased equipment, a month to six weeks to move the dirt needed into place. That would be, he said, if weather cooperated, and they weren’t interrupted by other work.

The job could require moving 180,000 cubic yards of dirt at $1 to $1.10 a yard, Chappelle estimated.

Chappelle said the method of filling, plus the shaping of the land, could be altered for several options of end use. For instance, he said, at one extreme it could be made into a golf course or a nature area, or as a park with trails or dog running areas. Returning the area to grass cover sod could cost more than $1,000 an acre, he said.

Comments from the commissioners ranged from allowing it for farm use for cattle and hay to getting Quail Unlimited to plant it for wildlife. But they appeared to agree they wanted it at the least development use for cost that could be done with KDHE approval.

Wetta told Brazil the commissioners wanted him “to move it forward in a professional manner” in as short a time frame as possible. That included seeking private bids with some bigger well-equipped companies perhaps able to do the project in a month during their winter down-time.

Michele Abbott-Becker, director of communications and emergency management, told commissioners her department will be cooperating with other county departments on a new homeland security mandate to take elevations at every mile road and intersection, and map water sources as part of mapping for cellular phone emergency calls.

Abbott-Becker said she has passed up trying to contract with an outside source to do the mapping for an estimated $30,000 in favor both of saving the county money and gaining the experience for county employees.

Statistics provided by Abbott-
Becker showed cellular phones accounting for nearly 67 percent of all 911 calls in Marion County this year, with 69.3 percent for November.

Mike Olson, consulting engineer with Kirkham Michael of Ellsworth, reported to commissioners that the new 1.5-inch overlay of 11.39 miles of Indigo Road, also called 13-mile Road, south from Hillsboro, came in at $14,000 under the estimated $486,000 for the project because of savings in the oil mix used.

This was despite added expense for shoulder rock needed to smooth out a two-foot wide edge to the road, he said. Olson warned that motorists need to realize the rock is only an edge to eliminate drop off, and not a stabilized shoulder.

Marion County’s construction on Indigo is complete. The road remains closed at its junction with U.S. Highway 50, Olson said, because that is in Harvey County.

Olson said his negotiations with the state for upgrade of Sunflower Road as an unofficial detour during U.S. Highway 77 reconstruction are ongoing.

He told commissioners they are doing the right thing by posting Nighthawk as a “no through road” to protect that road’s surface from heavy truck traffic.

Olson acknowledged with commissioners that the state benefits the county by donating millings from the old highway surface for patching.

Jim Herzet, road and bridge director, gave Wetta certification to sign for the state, stating that real estate and rights of way have been obtained for reconstruction of a bridge by Marion Reservoir.

Brazil reported planning and zoning at 60 percent of budget for the year, environmental health at 79 percent, and the transfer station at 80 percent.

He said income at the transfer station for the year includes $17,115,70 for C&D waste, $2,652.50 for white goods, and $825 for tires.

The transfer station in October disposed of 579.89 tons of municipal solid waste, 54.24 tons of C&D, 8.29 tons of white goods, and .29 ton of tires. Total tonnage for the year as of the end of October was 6,254.73 tons.

Wetta drew ballots out of a box to determine winners of a half-dozen tied township elections, often where only one vote was polled per candidate.

County Clerk Carol Maggard said often the township ties are caused by write-ins when no candidate filed for a position.

Winners declared from the drawing included David Frantz as Colfax Township trustee, Dailene Jost as Lehigh Township treasurer, Jeff Deines as Lost Springs Township trustee, Wayne Knust as Summit Township trustee, and Marilyn Stuckey as Summit Township treasurer.

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