The Madison County Solid Waste Board met on Feb. 23 to discuss recommendations from the Montana Association of Counties to improve safety at the dump sites around the county. In their report, MACo suggested improving all 10 sites by better containing some sites, manning others and closing sites when not in use or staffed.
Madison County dump sites include: Jefferson Island, Waterloo/Silver Star, Twin Bridges, Sheridan, Alder, Virginia City, Palisades, Ennis, Norris and Harrison/Pony. Both the Twin Bridges and Ennis sites are also landfills.
“MACo recommended that we have (the sites) manned and then they would be closed when they weren’t manned,” said Kacey Smart with the sanitarian’s office. “Their main recommendation was to have railings on the dumpsters so there’s containment (because) it’s a liability issue.”
“Which sites have the highest activity?” asked board member Sue Heald.
The board tossed back and forth questions of activity, cost and operations, as well as liability issues during the meeting.
“I think we need to get the bigger picture put together and include figures and preliminary numbers before move forward on any sites,” said Richard “Tikker” Jones. “We know we’re going to have do it, it’s just a matter of when and how.”
Jefferson County recently completed a similar process with their sites and the board thought using that county has a model would be a step in the right direction.
The board is attempting to make a push toward recycling throughout the county in an effort to save costs, as well as protect the environment.
The county receives money back on all recyclables, with the exception of plastic, so when cardboard or aluminum is dumped in the regular household garbage it adds to the weight, which can affect the price the county pays per ton.
The board hopes to hire Rebecca Ramsey with the Ruby Valley Conservation District to put together a promotional campaign to be used throughout the county to encourage recycling, after first drafting plan for the county commissioners.
“The commissioners need to be the leading force,” said Ramsey, suggesting an internal recycling push within all county offices.
Ramsey said she is personally offended by those who choose not to recycle.
“Recycling saves the taxpayers money and saves the earth, why would you not recycle?” she asked during the meeting. “People take the services for granted.”
Ramsey asked the board provide some hard figures such as cost and how regularly trips to recycling centers are made, before taking on a promotional campaign for the board.
What can be dropped at Madison County’s dump sites?
Cardboard, plastic, aluminum, paper, clean wood, metal, appliances, electronics.
According to Brian Conran, solid waste containment operator and attendant at the Ennis dump site, cardboard is the biggest recyclable for the Ennis site. Conran also said computers and cables do not need to placed in the dumpster specific to metals because they do not contain enough metal. Instead, just throw them in the household garbage dumpster.
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One person’s trash is another person’s treasure: Conran, who has been a site attendant since 2015, said he does not mind having people drop things by the dumpsters that they are willing to give away, such as couches, televisions and chairs.
“Ideally, it would be nice to have a staging area for those type of items, but as long as they’re beneficial to the community, I don’t mind letting them sit out there for a day or so,” he said.
“But those big box televisions, no one wants those,” he laughed.