Asbestos, landfill issues addressed at meeting

Uinta County Public Works maintenance technician Jeff Breininger talks to county commissioners about asbestos in county buildings during the Tuesday, Jan. 7, work session. (HERALD PHOTO/Kayne Pyatt)

EVANSTON — The Uinta County Commission work session on Tuesday, Jan. 7, began with an addition to the agenda. Jeff Breininger reported on the renovation of the Agriculture Extension Office. 

Breininger said the office had asbestos on the floor and, years ago, they had encapsulated it before installing carpet. That was legal at the time, but now, since they are removing all the carpet, the law states that the asbestos has to be removed. The Department of Environmental Quality asked an environmental remediation company to come on Jan. 13 to remove the asbestos.

Breininger said the office staff had taken the computers to their homes and were working from there. All other equipment and furniture is being stored in a trailer behind the building. After the company removes the asbestos, which will take a few weeks, it takes at least three days to eliminate the odor of the chemical used so the staff will not be returned to the building until Feb. 10. 

“The asbestos is throughout the whole building, and this was unexpected, so the cost went up from $16,000 to $24,000 to have it removed,” Breininger said. “The company is hauling all of the waste to Utah so Ron at the landfill won’t have to deal with it.”

Breininger added that he and the Public Health officer were going to Bridger Valley that morning to the Extension Office there to determine if there is asbestos under that carpet. He also mentioned that there is asbestos under the carpet at the Senior Center in Evanston and when that carpet needs to be replaced in 10 years or so they will be faced with the same requirements.

Following Breininger’s report, the focus turned to local landfills. Public Works Director Clay Baird introduced Craig McOmie, DEQ program manager for the transfer and remediation program for landfills. McOmie reported on the closure of the Bridger Valley landfill and the problems with the Uinta County No. 1 landfill.

McOmie congratulated the commission on the transfer station at the Bridger Valley landfill having neared completion. He discussed the different options and funding available to the commission regarding the complete closure and capping of the landfill. McOmie suggested that, since they already had a lifetime permit until 2028, they should use the transfer station for enough time to determine the financial costs of transporting municipal solid waste (MSW) and compare that with costs of remediation to the landfill. There is more than $12 million in grant funds available to help with transporting waste costs.

McOmie said they would need to put an intermediate cap on the landfill which is 18 inches or 3 feet of dirt. When they close the landfill, that intermediate cap would be part of the final capping. A final cap and closure will consist of 3 feet of dirt with 2 feet of compacted clay put down next, with 10 feet of dirt on top of that and a frost cover of 3 feet of dirt and, finally, 6 inches of topsoil. 

He said every year for 30 years after a closure and capping of a landfill the DEQ continues to check for settling and contamination of groundwater. The state also has loans with zero interest available to help with costs relating to closing a landfill. The loans can be stretched out for 30 years.

Baird asked McOmie whether, if they closed and capped the upper end of the horseshoe-shaped landfill in Bridger Valley and used the north end for construction demolition waste, the state would have funds available for that.  McOmie gave a negative answer but added that they could always petition the state for help.

“There is no pressure for you to decide on closure today. Your permit life gives you till 2028. There is funding available now and we will look at your audit and what you have available.   Whatever you decide the state will work with you,” McOmie said.

McOmie then moved to discuss the Uinta County No. 1 landfill which had problems with groundwater contamination appearing in four wells near the landfill.  He said contamination is a gas problem. As waste breaks down it can create gases. 

McOmie said that a gas study is required to determine what the next step will be. The county can take an active role and pay for the study and be reimbursed by the state or DEQ can hire a consultant and run the data and will pay for it all. The county would put a match in and that would be put in an active account from which to draw costs. The DEQ would pay 75% and the county 25%. The consultant will give different remedies and the county will make the choice.

Because of weather conditions in Wyoming, the DEQ allows extra time for remediation of the problem so the County has until June to remedy the situation. McOmie said that it will either require a venting of the cap or a diversion line for the gas to a collector. He recommended that commissioners start a dialogue, choose a consultant and make a plan.

“Once you sign the agreement with DEQ and begin the remedy, a 10-year clock begins for monitoring the effects of the remedy. DEQ pays 75% towards the cost of the remedy,” McOmie said. “The county is 100% responsible for the water well monitoring.”

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