Summit County's Three Mile Canyon Landfill was recently permitted for an additional 42 years, but officials hope this most recent expansion will be prolonged by diverting more waste away from landfills. To additionally serve residents, the county is looking to increase hours of operation at Three Mile as well.
The current landfill at Three Mile Canyon in Wanship will be capped in the fall of 2017, after which the expansion will commence, according to Summit County Solid Waste Superintendent Jaren Scott. However, Scott has noticed the facility has the shortest hours of operation out of all of the nearby landfills. He got the go-ahead from the County Council last Wednesday to increase those hours.
Currently, Three Mile Landfill is open Monday to Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., but Scott said employees notice all too often that individuals arrive at the landfill too close to closing hours and must be turned away. Representatives from both Republic Services and Recycle Utah encouraged the county to increase those hours to 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Commercial loads that are brought to the landfill must be dumped by 3:30 p.m. so they can be compacted and covered by 4 p.m., Scott said, so increasing the hours will mean that Republic Services does not have to leave its trucks loaded with waste overnight.
An expansion of a different sort could be in the works for the Henefer Landfill. There is land surrounding that site that is for sale right now, Scott said, adding the county may want to consider purchasing it for a composting operation. Green waste (a.k.a. yard waste) is a huge impact on the landfills and diverting that waste for composting could be crucial.
Summit County Council Chair Chris Robinson floated the idea of increasing the landfill's tipping fees also, which are currently $25 per ton for most waste, with a $10 minimum disposal charge. Other landfills charge closer to $30, so Robinson thinks an increase could be in order to help the facility improve operations.
Another key component of the county's goal to divert more waste away from the landfills is to further promote recycling. Recycling contamination is the "largest current recycling problem" right now, Scott said, with glass being the biggest culprit.
Glass is not collected with the recycling stream through curbside pickup, and if any glass is in a bin the contents of the whole container must be thrown in the trash. Education has been the county's main tool to avoid this problem, but that can prove to be a daunting task with the high number of part-time residents and tourists.
"How do you educate people [about recycling] when they're only here for a weekend? You can't," Scott said, who added it would be wise to put 'No Glass' on all recycling bins in the county.
Something many residents may not be aware of, Scott said, is that residents can add another recycling bin for $1 per month, while another 65-gallon trash bin is an extra $12 a month. Scott is also looking to charge separate recycling and solid waste fees to residents as another incentive.
The Solid Waste Department is also analyzing a potential transfer station partnership with Republic Services and Park City Municipal where recycling can be dropped off. Right now, each truck that picks up recycling must make a trip to Salt Lake so such a station would decrease the number of trips made by fleet trucks.
For more information on the Three Mile Canyon Landfill and the Henefer Landfill, visit summitcounty.org/landfill.