Green waste from single windstorm likely to exceed last year's total landfill intake

Published: Friday, Dec. 9 2011 11:07 p.m. MST

Piles of debris from the windstorms are being turned into mulch Thursday, Dec. 8, 2011, at the Bountiful Landfill.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

LAYTON — Record amounts of green waste have been arriving at the Layton Landfill since last week when hurricane-force winds blasted Davis County, uprooting trees.

Roughly 7,000 tons of green waste and another 800 tons of other debris had been dumped at the landfill through Wednesday, said Nathan Rich, executive director of Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District, which operates the Layton Landfill.

"And it's still coming in," Rich said Thursday.

When all is said and done, he estimates between 13,000 tons and 15,000 tons of storm-related debris will have been collected and dumped at the landfill, with 95 percent of that being green waste.

To put that total in perspective, the landfill processed about 12,000 tons of green waste during all of last year.

Much of the green waste comes from trees and branches that fell during the Dec. 1 windstorm that also toppled semitrailers, downed power lines and created extensive property damage.

Residents got help from the Utah National Guard and other state agencies with the cleanup Sunday in anticipation of another windstorm that night. Gov. Gary Herbert ordered the National Guard to stand down operations at noon Thursday.

Roughly 2,400 loads were dumped at the Layton Landfill by vehicles of various sizes Saturday, Rich said. The landfill made a late decision to open Sunday to accommodate the cleanup, and another 2,000 vehicle loads were dumped between 11:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Previously, the most traffic in a single day at the landfill had been about 1,800, Rich said.

"Sunday was crazy because there was a real reason to try to get ahead of the next storm event," he said. "Now, we can pace ourselves and start eating that elephant one bite at a time."

Rich said he expects this Saturday to be another busy day at the landfill, 1997 E. 3500 North.

"There's still quite a bit of material in Kaysville, and I'm told there's still a lot in Centerville," Rich said. "And there's a lot of material on the curbs in Farmington."

The landfill will continue to accept clean green waste — meaning it's not mixed with other debris — at no charge through Dec. 17.

"We're really encouraging people to segregate their waste so we don't have to put it in the landfill," Rich said.

Crews already have started grinding up the green waste. Those materials will be reused as part of the landfill's composting program.

The Wasatch Integrated Waste Management District is a special service district that includes all of Davis County, except Bountiful. It also includes Morgan County.

In Bountiful, crews are working to grind up the mounds of green waste that formed during the weekend cleanup.

Gary Blowers, superintendent of the Bountiful Landfill, said so many trucks have dumped loads there that officials have no idea how much green waste actually has been collected.

"There's a lot out there, and we'll still have it coming in for quite a while," Blowers said.

The landfill was open for about 14 hours Sunday, when the Utah National Guard assisted residents and church groups with the cleanup, he said.

"There was truck after truck," Blowers said. "There was no time to count them."

The landfill plans to bring in a second grinding machine to handle all of the green waste.

"We'll store it until we get it all chopped up, and then it will all be reused (as compost)," Blowers said.

The Bountiful Landfill is at 1300 W. 1600 North, West Bountiful.

E-mail: jpage@desnews.com

Get The Deseret News Everywhere

Subscribe

Mobile

RSS