City of Cheyenne Public Works said the landfill expansion will be a long-term project, and will serve the city for decades
CHEYENNE, Wyo. (Wyoming News Now) - The City of Cheyenne is expanding the landfill by adding eight massive cells. The project is designed to expand the landfill over a series of years, the grand design estimating the landfill’s lifespan to exceed 45 years.
The landfill has been around since the 1960s, and is located on Happy Jack Road, about ten miles outside of Cheyenne.
The City did not move forward with the property originally purchased to be used as a landfill, Belvoir Ranch, and instead designed an expansion of the current landfill location.
The cells allow for more waste to be stored in the location over a longer period of time. With each cell, there can be an eighty-foot elevation drop from top to bottom. Director of Public Works, Vicki Nemecek, said approximately 2,000,000 cubic yards of dirt and rock have been excavated.
Two cells have already been excavated, and the third will be partially excavated so the dirt from the third cell can fill one and two once they are full of waste. New cells will need to be excavated every 5 to 8 years, according to Nemecek.
The current phase of the expansion is costing rate-payers $6 million for the excavation, and $500,000 more for the lining.
Nemecek said although the project is costly, it is less expensive than transporting waste to Colorado landfills with an annual tipping fee of $1.2 million. She adds, because the project will last 45-50 years, the expansion is more economical.
“You have to have the revenue in order to build that next cell. So we require, and state statute allows, the City to control waste within the city limits so that we can not only collect, but also dispose of your waste,” said Nemecek.
The tedious process of lining the cells includes the layering of dirt, bentonite, geosynthetic liner and a final layer of sand to seal in the waste. The process ensures waste contamination does not seep into ground water.
Nemecek adds, the expansion has an environmentally-aware design. The landfill is surrounded by a 40-ft. high litter fence, that contains loose litter on windy days. Nemecek said three full-time litter pickers work around the clock to keep the landfill and surrounding areas clean.
“You may not realize it, you may not even think about it, but without a landfill, you have to think about other options of how you are going to dispose of your waste. So when you have that Kleenex, or you have that waste from last night’s dinner that you have to scrape into the garbage, realize that we have a place for you to dispose of all of that for the next fifty years,” said Nemecek.
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