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Commissioners Review Landfill Problems with Holly and Granada

 

Commercial Trash Receptacle

Glenn Otto and Tony Garcia, Mayors of Granada and Holly, respectively, met with the Prowers County Commissioners to discuss their landfill problems on Tuesday, August 29th.  Both communities are between a financial rock and a hard place in their efforts to remain in compliance to regulatory mandates for their landfill operations from the Colorado Department of Health and Environment.  Each community was cited by the CDPHE several years ago for landfill problems ranging from record keeping to the manner in which the landfills were operated.  The rock is the cost of maintaining the regulations stipulated by the state health agency and the hard place is the cost of the fines each community could face if they don’t comply.  Even shutting down the landfills is not a viable option as the approximate cost, around $300,000, is a price neither community can afford, let alone the costs of establishing and maintaining test wells after the landfills are closed.

Mayor Glenn Otto says Granada has about 230 households and they are charged $4 a month for the collection and landfill service, while Mayor Garcia said Holly collection customers, about 410, are charged $28 for the monthly service.

Commissioner Wendy Buxton-Andrade asked if there was any particular direction the commissioners could offer to assist the towns in their landfill problems, adding, “We want to work through the state legislature to see if something can be done that way to have the CDPHE back off on their regulations.”

Commissioner Ron Cook said, “We’ve written two letters to Governor Hickenlooper and met with him as well to discuss the matter, but we aren’t getting anywhere with that effort.”  The commissioners felt that the CDPHE needs to cut back on rules and regulations that are more of a hindrance than a help with landfills in smaller communities in the state.  Buxton-Andrade said the new legislative session will open a time period when the Colorado Communities Incorporated group can introduce a resolution that would allow inspections to be more site specific, using local inspectors who would be more familiar with the type of landfill operations used for smaller communities.  She added that would be a lengthy process, running into next spring, but a single issue piece of legislation might receive a faster pathway for an endorsement to make into a committee.

Both Otto and Garcia believed that even if they come into complete compliance, they may just face a new set of regulations that are enacted in the next year so there would be little gain. Otto said, “We’re looking at an October 1st deadline where the town may face some penalties.”

Holly is in better shape that Granada as the town recently passed several hurdles with their compliance issues with the CDPHE. Mayor Garcia said the Trustees will take up the issue when they meet in early September.  Otto said one or two town meetings need to be called to allow the residents to voice their opinion on their situation.

Closing the landfills would be little financial remedy, as the trash still needs to be picked up and then hauled to another dumpsite. Lamar is the most likely local choice, but although there is space in the landfill, the city would have to charge a comparable fee to the communities for their services, and that problem has been discussed, but no easy solution has been determined at this time.  Both communities said they’ll write letters asking for more time to develop some plans and try to forestall any penalties from the state.

By Russ Baldwin

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Filed Under: City of GranadaCity of HollyCity of LamarCountyFeaturedHealthPublic SafetyTransportationUtilities

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