Trash times: Officials: New hours at city baler would take trade-offsJamestown and area residents have limited hours to take refuse to the baler and landfill. The hours of operation prevent residents from disposing of items after normal working hours and during the afternoon on Saturday.
By: Keith Norman, The Jamestown Sun
Jamestown and area residents have limited hours to take refuse to the baler and landfill. The hours of operation prevent residents from disposing of items after normal working hours and during the afternoon on Saturday.
During the recent budget discussions Roger Mayhew, landfill manager, said any reductions in hours would be met with criticism and that the department already hears complaints that the baler is not open at convenient hours.
“Any change (in hours) would have to come as a decision from the council for more staffing,” said Reed Schwartzkopf, city engineer. “There have been informal discussions about doing that. During the budget it seemed the mayor and the council were loath to add manpower.”
Mayor Katie Andersen said the situation is a tradeoff.
“I’ve heard the comments a few times and the idea has been weighed against the costs,” she said. “People have the occasional project and there are individual circumstances where it is a problem but we’re protecting fees from being higher than they are.”
Solid waste is dealt with in two different manners, Schwartzkopf said. Household waste is dumped at the baler and compressed into tight bundles, which are then buried in the mixed solid-waste dump. Materials such as lumber, construction debris, shingles and old furniture are buried in the inert landfill. Both types of materials are weighed at the scale at the baler building before disposal.
Operations of the garbage baler and the inert landfill are governed by regulations from the North Dakota Department of Health. These regulations require minimum levels of staffing and mandate training levels and certifications for workers.
“There are lots of requirements from the health department as far as staffing,” Andersen said. “That puts limits on us as to when we can be open.”
Schwartzkopf said for brief periods, such as the Saturday morning operations, a minimum of two people are required. Longer operations require three or more people on site at the baler and landfill.
The baling facility and inert landfill currently operate from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. on Saturday.
The weekday hours correspond to the times when residential garbage haulers are making pickups around town and hauling to the baler. For the baler to begin operations later in the day would also require rescheduling the garbage routes around Jamestown, Schwartzkopf said.
“Technically it would be feasible,” he said. “But you would have increased cost for shift differential for people working in the evening and the inconvenience of garbage cans along the streets in town later in the day.”
Other communities in the area do offer longer public hours at the landfill but have less regulations because of the way they operate.
“We just have two people working at the landfill,” said Joy Kiefert, public works secretary for Valley City. “One person is temporary through the summer when we have longer hours for the public.”
The Valley City landfill operates from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Household waste in Valley City is compressed and hauled to Fargo for disposal. The landfill only accepts items like wood, branches, construction material and shingles.
In Jamestown, Schwartzkopf doesn’t anticipate any changes in operation.
“The comments we receive are the same comments any government agency hears, ‘you’re open the same hours most people work,’” he said. “We’re already open for a period on Saturday and we’re the only (Jamestown) city operation that does that.”
Sun reporter Keith Norman can be reached at 701-952-8452 or by email at email@example.com