Federal regulators have ordered Weber County to remove diapers and demolition material that were illegally dumped in the county landfill about five years ago.
In a compromise with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, the county agreed not to fight a citation for violating the Clean Water Act and to restore protected wetlands destroyed by the dumping.In return, the county will not be fined or sued by the corps.
"We've got to get the job done," said county purchasing agent Lloyd Barney, who oversees the landfill. "As long as we are taking steps to clean it up, they'll pull the citation off the table."
Restoring the wetlands at the southern end of the landfill could force the county to speed up its search for a new way of disposing of trash.
County officials previously believed the landfill had 15 to 20 years of remaining life. But because the corps has ruled the southern end can't be used as a dump, the remainder is expected to be full in eight to 10 years, said County Commissioner Randall Williford.
County officials don't know how much restoration will cost but hope some of it is shared by Teledyne Industries Inc., operator of the landfill from 1977 to 1985.
Barney said during that period, reject diapers from the Kimberly-Clark plant were dumped in the southern portion of the landfill to a depth of 6 feet, along with demolition materials and logs.
Browning-Ferris Industries, the current operator, also may remove some demolition materials placed in the landfill's southern end.
No raw garbage was dumped in the wetlands, and the portions of landfill in the southern end to be restored as wetlands are fewer than two acres total, he said.