By Kevin Killough, State Energy Reporter
The city of Upton, a small community in northeast Wyoming, could get a $1.3 million boost from the Wyoming Legislature to build a landfill transfer station.
The money is included in an annual bill that determines state funding priorities for towns to close landfills or build transfer stations.
The Minerals, Business and Economic Development Committee is considering House Bill 50, Solid Waste Cease and Transfer Program Funding, to determine which communities will get state funding.
The bill is on the committee’s agenda for its 8 a.m. Wednesday meeting.
Prior to 1976, when a town needed a landfill, it dug a hole, and that was the city dump. That began to change when the U.S. Congress passed the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act.
Over the years, the EPA added more regulations.
Now landfills face location restrictions, require composite liners to prevent garbage juice — the technical term is leachate — from seeping into groundwater, and monitoring standards for leakage and air quality.
“Years ago, the state put together a fund to help communities pay for those expenses, because it is very expensive to close a landfill,” said Rep. Donald Brukhart, R-Rawlins, co-chair of the committee.
Every year, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality reviews the applications for landfill closure support and determines a priority for each approved project, which the Legislature then approves the list in the bill, which Burkhart called a “formality.”
The program also supports towns building transfer stations, which allows for the temporary dumping of municipal solid waste to be shipped to EPA-compliant landfills.
“Numerous communities in Wyoming have benefited from the program,” Brukhart said.
Altogether, this year’s list totals more than $31 million, which includes $100,000 for a carcass management program to dispose of dead animals.
Multiple messages were left at Upton City Hall seeking details on the transfer project the town is requesting $1.3 million in taxpayer money to support, but the messages weren’t returned by the time this story was posted.
Newcastle is the second priority for $1.2 million in funding for a transfer station, but the person who could talk about the project wasn’t available because of a family emergency.
The town of Moorcroft is third on the list, with a $1.5 million transfer station. According to a letter sent to residents of the town, its landfill closed in June.
“New regulations implemented from the EPA and Wyoming DEQ for further permitting landfill space makes it extremely expensive and cost prohibitive for the town to permit a new area on their own and to keep the landfill operating,” the letter states.
Rawlins is a city that has previously benefited from the program, Brukhart said.
Rawlins contracts with the city of Casper to receive its solid waste. Like many towns that can’t operate a municipal solid waste landfill, it allows dumping of construction and demolition waste, as well as yard waste, in the existing landfill without having expensive regulations to adhere to.