Proposed federal standards for solid-waste landfills are slowing down Iron County's attempts to find more space for garbage dumps, officials say.

County Clerk David Yardley said the County Commission would like to turn the defunct Lindsey and Armstrong mining pits, which originally were part of the old Iron Springs mines, into additional landfill space.But in addition to meeting the Environmental Protection Agency's proposed standards, the county also must meet requirements set by the state Solid and Hazardous Waste Bureau.

Yardley said the county submitted an application to the state last spring.

One of the main concerns facing state as well as county officials is groundwater, he said. A variety of tests and precautions must be taken to avoid contamination.

Gary Player, a geologist under the direction of the commission, recently conducted a water analysis from three test points in and around the proposed landfill site.

Player said he has spent $40,000 so far on the tests, which appear to be normal. Anything beyond that depends on how the state reacts, he has told the commissioners.

Iron County Commissioner Jim Robinson said that while he wants a place for the county to dump its garbage, he also wants to be sure the water supply isn't jeopardized.

Under proposed EPA regulations, all new landfills must be contained within a plastic liner. But because of a thick shale underground wall protecting Cedar Valley from runoff or contamination and the sheer size of the pits, county officials feel the liner is unnecessary.

"We feel in our situation a liner won't do any good," Yardley said. "Any (runoff) water that does come in is locked within the land formation."

Although the deadline for the proposed EPA standards has been extended repeatedly, Player said the county's landfill application conforms to the agency's most recent draft of the EPA regulations.

Once the EPA standards go into effect, the state has 18 months to implement its own new regulations.