|The following comments are from Councilman Chandler. I would like to thank him for sharing his thoughts about this issue.
As our landfill nears its capacity, it will require new permits and substantial costs to continue into the future. The combined cost of closure of the current cell, and opening a new cell, is estimated at $4.8 million. In a related issue, the City has been using much more than the 10 acres allowed under our current permit, so we recently applied for an area of 50 acres. However, the Southern Nevada Health District believes federal law requires a permit for the vertical expansion of the 10 acres, and a separate new permit for any lateral expansion.
Technology exists to process the biomass from our waste for its energy as methane, and to recover the ordinary recyclables that currently are not being separated. This can reduce the volume of new material going into the landfill by 80-85%, and extend its life many years. We may even be able to “mine” the landfill to recover old material and both postpone and reduce closure costs significantly.
On August 12th the City Council explored the possibility of a pilot plant waste recovery facility. Assemblyman Joe Hardy and others spoke in support of the concept. Officials from the SNHD offered their help, and addressed the regulatory issues we may expect.
Because it is by nature research and development, many unknowns will be clarified only as we work through them. But there are businesses and academics that believe it can be done, and federal research funds available to make it happen.
Visit Roger at http://www.bcnv.org/CityCouncil/Tobler.asp.