It was a grand opening with all the right stuff - dignitaries, speeches, a big tent, food, a ribbon-cutting and a parade. A parade of garbage trucks, that is.
Wasatch Energy Systems, operator of the solid-waste disposal district for Davis and Morgan counties, dedicated its new 19.6-acre state-of-the-art landfill last week.Five garbage trucks, one representing each of the area's major haulers, paraded along a new 600-yard paved road leading to the east end of the new landfill.
There, they dumped the first trash into the new pit, which looked more like an empty reservoir than a landfill.
The new landfill replaces the 46-year-old landfill 400 yards to the northwest, which is nearing capacity. The new facility has room to expand in two more phases and could last 20 to 40 years, depending on usage.
Besides the fleet of garbage trucks, the district also honored area solid-waste haulers with a special appreciation day during the grand opening event.
District executive director LeGrand Bitter also commended South Weber and Layton cities, the two neighboring communities to the landfill, for sacrifices made.
However, this new landfill is nothing like what used to exist in the area.
Former district director Arthur Johnson, a Kaysville councilman, said he and his family have used the old landfill for 45 years and it used to be nothing like this.
"It was a dump," he said.
Davis County Commissioner Gayle Stevenson said in the old days there was always trash blowing, hoards of gulls and awful odors.
Johnson said dump users could almost always expect a flat tire.
However, the district cleaned up the old landfill and the new one is so clean that board leaders and visitors held a luncheon between the two dumping pits. There was no odor, except the smell of good food, no blowing trash and no birds.
"This is one of the most environmentally and neighbor-friendly landfills," Johnson said.
Robert Arbuckle, another former district chairman and previous Farmington mayor, agreed.
"This is the best landfill in the state. We have a lot to be proud of," he said.
The new landfill has a special plastic liner to contain contamination. There's also erosion control everywhere and special drainage ponds.
Arbuckle said the district's accompanying burn plant has produced greater controversy than the landfills.
"We just had to try to make it work," he said.
Dumping more ash than trash into the county landfill extends its life by 26 years, a big cost savings to the district.
He credited burn plant manager Jack Schmidt for helping the facility turn the corner to becoming an asset.
"We owe Jack a lot," he said.
Current district board chairman Jerry Stevenson, Layton's mayor, also praised the district's dedicated leadership and good employees for the new landfill and its efficient waste disposal system.
Joel Armer, landfill manager, said the second phase of future landfill expansion includes the property to the west, where the grand opening tent was located. The third and final phase is located where the current shop sits.
With even more property - 1,120 acres - secured in Box Elder County for another landfill, the district has space for some 200 years' worth of garbage.