Letter: Milner landfill provides important service in Routt County
Twin Enviro Services is pleased that its Milner Landfill’s new Special Use Permit was unanimously approved by the Routt County Board of Commissioners.
The Milner Landfill dates to 1973 when the Steamboat Springs dump and the Hayden dump were closed, and Routt County opened a new site on the Utterback Ranch, where waste filled an old railroad cut. Soon later, the site moved up the hill to land Twin Enviro secured for the county from Melvin Hitchens. No permitting or environmental analysis was done for either site. In response to increasing regulatory oversight, Downhill Pickup (later renamed Twin Enviro Services) assumed operation of the site from Routt County in the early 1980s primarily because it was a poorly run, uncontrolled, noncomplying, open burning dump.
Under the 1976 Resource Conservation Recovery Act, the primary waste disposer at a landfill (Twin Enviro) could be held responsible for environmental damage caused by that facility. Potential liability incentivized Twin Enviro bringing the Milner Landfill into compliance. Since then, an avalanche of new rules, regulations, requirements and inspections ensure the Milner Landfill stays in substantial compliance.
Rules and oversight have continued to be upgraded many times over the past 35 years, and Twin Enviro’s facility has continually improved to keep it in compliance and available to the public. It is now a carefully and professionally run, engineered, clay-and-plastic-lined facility with 12 monitoring wells that are sampled quarterly to assure the site is not impacting groundwater. Further, air and gas emissions from the site are collected and lab analyzed. Results remain well below regulatory levels. Incoming loads of waste are screened at the scale and again when dumped to be certain hazardous waste is excluded.
The site is not perfect, and Milner does receive “compliance advisories,” which you could call minor violations, such as blowing litter or failure to cover waste with soil expeditiously. Our own compliance officer, as well as county and state inspectors keep tabs on how we are doing. There is no evidence that Twin Enviro’s site operation has resulted in environmental impacts, unlike when operated by Routt County.
Twin Enviro accepts liquid waste, and sorts and ships Single-Stream Recycling. It operates collects and delivers bio-solids and food wastes to its separate composting areas. The site grinds wood and tree waste and recycles that product to help make finished compost.
I am proud of the Milner Landfill, its important service to the community and its good record of compliance operating a small remote facility in a difficult climate.
Founder and owner of Twin Enviro Services
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