In Nebraska, more often than not, the wind is blowing. The last few months, it has definitely been windy. Besides a fire, high winds are probably the worst thing to have at a landfill. Landfill personnel have had their hands full dealing with winds blowing litter all thru the landfill and also onto surrounding properties in recent months.
The landfill is surrounded with two thick lines of red cedar trees, acting as natural litter control fences. Recently, the landfill elevation on our current working cell surpassed our tree lines.
This fact, along with our landfill moving away from a bailing operation to a compacting operation, has not been beneficial to us controlling windblown litter.
While working in the landfill, operators use tall metal fence panels, called wind fence, to line the downwind side of the working area to help contain the windblown litter. Wind fence panels differ in size, but most are approximately twenty feel long and twelve feet tall and are covered with expanded metal sheets.
A 4 foot section on the top is welded at a 45 degree angle to prevent trash from blowing over the top. Each morning, approximately eight wind fence panels are moved into place with a track loader. Most days, we’re lucky and the wind doesn’t change direction midway thru the day forcing operators to move all eight fences again in the same day. Some days, we are not as lucky.
In the past couple of months, we have had a long series of days in which the wind speed was so high that pieces of litter stuck to the fences and wind would blow them over the wind fence panels.
As the litter was blowing around inside the landfill, some pieces would wind up on surrounding properties. This forces landfill operators to stop landfilling and walk the surrounding properties picking up litter.
While the city has been advertising for a part-time worker, I was lucky enough to have a group of young men looking to complete community service projects for St. John Church come out and pick up litter one night, as well as a group of Beatrice Middle School students raising funds for a school field trip to Washington D.C. come out and work for four hours.
This was not only beneficial for the children but also to the landfill as it helped a great deal with our litter problem.
In the fall of 2014, the Beatrice City Council voted to continue landfill operations and begin the design and permitting process for the construction of a new landfill on land the city currently owns, south of the current Landfill.
In the summer of 2015, the city sent out a Request for Proposals (RFP) for the designs for a new landfill. During this process, a proposal was presented to the city to utilize an existing 5.5-acre area between the old landfill and the new landfill. This option became known as the piggyback.
This proposal would allow the city to stay in its current location and utilize existing infrastructure, as well as gain an estimated five or six years of existing air space for landfilling.
The proposal was accepted, and the engineering and permitting process with the Nebraska Department of Environment Quality began. Over the last year and a half, the design came together and, last week, a contractor was selected to begin construction of the new piggyback cell in the landfill. Construction on this new cell should begin in the next month and is expected to be completed by late fall.