Rawlins Has Giant Manure Problem

The town of Rawlins has had more than 865 tons of manure dumped in its landfill so far this year.

Annaliese Wiederspahn

September 22, 20203 min read

Giant manure pile

Politicians are often accused of spreading manure (often described using a more colorful term) but city officials in Rawlins are now wrestling with what to do with actual manure. Tons of it.

It turns out that Rawlins is becoming a really popular dumping ground for manure. According to our friends over at Bigfoot 99 in Saratoga, the amount of manure dumped at the landfill has more than doubled in the past three years.

Is that a problem? After all, landfills would seem like a great place for manure.

Well, if it was 100 pounds of manure doubling to 200 pounds of manure, maybe it would be no big deal. But the numbers are a bit larger than that.

In 2017, the Rawlins landfill accepted 408 tons of manure. In the last eight months, the landfill has accepted 865 tons of manure.

If you are thinking “holy crap,” you’re not alone. That’s a lot of manure.

Where is the increase in manure coming from?

Public Works Operations Manager Danielle Gross is stumped.

“I have no idea,” she told Bigfoot 99. “I don’t know if people were building it up or if people were mixing it with fertilizer and stopped. I’m not 100% sure.”

If the municipality could just pile it up in the landfill like a miniature crap-filled Mt. Everest, that could be one thing.

It could be a tourist attraction. The National Outdoor Leadership School could open a branch in Rawlins focused on mountain climbing. Maybe it would attract a ski resort for winter sports.

But that’s not in the cards. They have to haul it somewhere that accepts manure. Like farms.

But it has cost the city more than $70,000 to haul the manure to a farm so far this year.  That’s a lot of money.

So town officials are debating whether they should start charging for the dumping of manure. In order to break even, the town would have to charge $82 per ton.

Officials are hesitant to pursue the fee because the service has always been free in the past.

Why not use the manure for ground cover?  The DEQ ruled that the manure is not of high enough quality for such a use.

What about compost?  

Officials are looking at both Rock Springs and Sheridan for their composting programs.

In the meantime, officials are sending letters out to individuals who are dumping their manure at the landfill to get them involved in the process of reviewing options.

At some point, the discussion could be brought up as an agenda item for the city council.

To hear an excellent interview discussing this issue, join our friends at Bigfoot 99 here.

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Annaliese Wiederspahn

State Political Reporter