The Pitkin County Solid Waste Center is working toward expanding its landfill but has a ton of work to do before moving forward with the expansion.
Make that 65,000 tons of work.
Due to a recent influx of crushable material, a planned engineered expansion and a future closure of the top section of the landfill, it’s been determined the waste center needs to process the current stockpile of crushable material into aggregate.
“We have in excess of 65,000 tons of crushable materials we need to move in the next year,” said Brian Pettet, the director of public works for Pitkin County. “It’s literally a mountain at the landfill.”
Pitkin County contracts Heartland Environmental Services to manage the county landfill. Heartland will subcontract crushing services at $7.39 a ton.
The Solid Waste Center has conducted aggregate crushing operations in the past. Crushable material, which consists of dirt and rock from excavations around the area, arrive at the landfill and are stockpiled. Creating the aggregate product diverts this rock and dirt from taking up airspace in the landfill as well as creates a sellable product for the waste center.
Much of the aggregate produced by the county will be considered “Class 6” road base, meaning it meets certain engineering requirements for compaction and creating a stable foundation. Pettet said Class 6 road base can be used by contractors, road builders, government agencies and many other entities.
Some of the aggregate also will be used for gravel roads as well as backfilling for commercial and residential projects.
The landfill plans to provide some aggregate to the county’s Road and Bridge Department as well as use some of the product for their own expansion projects.
“Our top goal is to divert material and extend the life of the landfill,” Petit said. “It’s really a win-win-win-win situation. The county will make money when materials are brought to the landfill. Because this crushable material isn’t being buried and taking up space, that will extend the life of the landfill. A lot of the aggregate will be used within our community, so it’s literally being recycled. On top of all that, the county will make money selling the aggregate product.”
The county is projecting an increase of $264,000 in revenue from incoming crushables and sales of aggregate materials.
“Our goal is within 12 months to be able to move the incoming trash to where the mountain of crushable materials is right now,” Petit said. “Expanding the life of the landfill is paramount. Making a profit along the way from aggregate sales will be a bonus.”