ASPEN - The Pitkin County Landfill will spend another $220,000 this year to turn a mountain of rock and dirt into material it can sell.
County commissioners gave informal approval to the added expenditure Tuesday.
The pile has been accumulating for more than a year, according to Brian Pettet, director of public works. An uptick in construction activity might be responsible for the increased volume of material being brought to the landfill this year, he said.
There's not a crusher at the landfill year-round, as the work is done by a subcontractor. Though 17,000 tons were processed in January, the operation has fallen behind.
The added allocation will allow the crushing and screening of about 30,000 tons of rock and dirt into what are called aggregate products. The landfill then sells the material, covering the cost of the crushing operation and generating a profit. The excess revenues - roughly $50,000 - fund other expenses at the landfill.
In all, the existing pile contains about 90,000 tons of material, according to Pettet.
"You could ski it," he joked before Tuesday's discussion with commissioners.
With 30,000 tons to be crushed this year, the remainder will be tackled next spring, he said.
Keeping the material from being buried at the landfill extends the life of the facility - a more important goal than the profit margin, he said.
County Commissioner Michael Owsley, however, asked why the county requires the Elam Construction gravel pit near Woody Creek to shut down in November while the landfill is just now ramping up its aggregate production. The work at the landfill is expected to cease for the winter in mid-December.
"I don't want Elam to have grounds to open up in the wintertime," Owsley said.