July 24, 2013

Tons of trash

By Kate Ruggles
Farmer Staff Writer

The McKenzie County Landfill has gone from taking in an average of under 20 tons of trash a day and being near the bottom of the state’s 13 landfill sites for inbound trash volume, to taking in over 100 tons a day and becoming the fourth or fifth highest in the state in volume.
This dramatic shift tells not only of the growth occurring in McKenzie County, but also of the incredible growth that has occurred in the county’s landfill.
“I heard last week that we were fourth or fifth in the state and I was amazed,” states Rick Schreiber, McKenzie County Landfill manager. “We have transitioned from a small town, rural landfill to a state-of-the-art facility and it is exciting.”
This change in rank is due in large part to the continuous increase in the amount of trash the landfill has taken in since the start of the boom.
Before the boom, the McKenzie County Landfill took in an average of less than 20 tons daily. However, since Rick Schreiber became the county landfill manager on Nov. 30, 2012, it has taken in an average of 180 tons per day. And, since the start of the summer, that average has increased to roughly 375 tons per day.
Because of this increase, the landfill’s current cell, which opened roughly a year ago, is already half full. Schreiber estimates that the current cell has another nine months to a year before it is completely full and unusable. According to Schreiber, the landfill’s previous cell lasted roughly four years.
“We have that much more trash, which requires more work and more fuel,” states Schreiber. “We are just busy out here.”
Though the landfill’s volume has increased, its work force has stayed relatively the same. The McKenzie County Landfill currently employs four personnel who, according to Schreiber, are handling the increased volume and workload very well.
“The staff is doing a great job of getting the job done,” states Schreiber. “We take in two times as much trash as Dickinson and we have half the employees. That speaks to how well everyone is doing out here.”
Part of the reason for their efficiency is that since last November, Schreiber has installed new time-saving and space-saving equipment that has helped the landfill employees carry their increased workload.
Equipment like the Bomag Trash Compactor and a pickup have helped the landfill employees deal with incoming loads. But the biggest change will come in the next two to three weeks with the installation of a new scale system.
Currently, the McKenzie County Landfill measures inbound loads by cubic yard. And according to Schreiber, this works, but does not help the landfill keep an accurate record of its average tonnage. It is also a measurement that must be taken, where the new scale will be just that, a scale.
Loads will be placed on the scale, and a computerized readout of the load’s weight will be calculated, as well as recorded.
“With the new scale, we should be able to get people in and out faster, as well as be better able to track the amount of our incoming trash,” states Schreiber.
One thing Schreiber does want people to be aware of is that the new scale will also bring with it new pay rates for loads. But the differences should only be seen in commercial loads.
“It is hard to go from cubic yards to tons and have everything stay the same. But we have worked hard to make sure that the city of Watford City will not have a big increase to dump at the landfill,” states Schreiber. “Household trash rates will not change.”
According to Schreiber, the landfill’s new rate structure will be a mirror image of Williston’s rates, and the new scale and rate structure should be implemented in the next two to three weeks.