More than a year after discussions began about taking a countywide approach to meeting landfill needs, Utah County cities have yet to reach a consensus on how to solve the problem.
The call issued at the Utah County Council of Government's latest monthly meeting has become an echo COG members hear carried over from one meeting to the next. "It's time to come to a consensus," Alpine Mayor Ronald Rasmussen said at Thursday's sparsely attended meeting.Provo Mayor Joe Jenkins, however, unveiled the freshest garbage-disposal idea to come out of COG for several months: "Let's send it all (county garbage) to Salt Lake."
Barring that possibility, Provo's new 640-acre landfill under development west of Goshen Bay near Elberta is still open to other interested cities, Jenkins told the council. He said Salem, Spanish Fork and Springville are taking a serious look at joining Provo. Orem also has voiced support for the Bayview site, but is obligated for the time being to dumping at the unpopular Lindon landfill.
A study the council commissioned last fall says existing county landfills offer only a temporary solution to growing waste-disposal needs. The study recommends Utah Valley cities develop either one regional landfill for all cities or two subregional landfills - one for cities in the north part of the valley and one for cities in the south.
Provo officials say the Bayview site could handle countywide disposal needs for many years, but the possibility of developing a second, north-valley site has received new impetus.
Of five sites examined in the landfill-site study, a clay pit area southwest of Saratoga ranked the highest overall. But cities belonging to the North Utah County Solid Waste District, which runs the Lindon landfill, are more interested in the possibility of developing as much as 1,500 acres in Cedar Valley, Commission Chairman Malcolm Beck said.
Rasmussen said a Cedar Valley site would be much more popular than the Lindon site. Not all solid waste district members like the idea of purchasing additional acres northwest of the Lindon landfill to prolong the site's life 20 years.
But the district might not have that alternative anyway once new Environmental Protection Agency guidelines are implemented either this fall or next spring. Beck said the guidelines likely will close 80 percent of existing landfills across the country.
The county won't block north county cities in their efforts to develop a site separate from Provo's Elberta site, he said. Beck predicted the district would need at least two years to develop another site.
Jenkins said Provo has addressed nearly all concerns officials from The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had regarding the Bayview landfill's possible effect on church-owned orchards in the area. He said the church has approved of south county cities using the landfill and won't require Provo to meet two conditions established by the county Board of Adjustments governing Bayview site use. Those conditions are that only Provo garbage be dumped at the site and that Provo trucks be used exclusively.
The landfill's impact on the orchard will be assessed after one year, Jenkins said. Then officials will decide whether to allow north Utah County cities also to dump at the site.