From the pages of
Sublette Examiner
Volume 3, Number 28 - October 9, 2003
brought to you online by Pinedale Online

Commission turns to square bales

by Cat Urbigkit

Frank Grimes of Nelson Engineering and Sublette County waste management supervisor Mike McGinnis joined Sublette County Commissioners Tuesday in a discussion about going to a balefill system at the Marbleton landfill, including the debate between round bales and square bales.

Commission Chairman Gordon Johnston said he had done some research into the bale system, including visiting six sites in Utah, ranging in age from newly installed systems to 40-year-old programs.

Johnston said while he understands McGinnis has a concern about the amount of debris associated with unwrapped square bales, he prefers the squares over the round bale system. Earlier this summer, the county participated in a pilot program involving a round baler that wrapped the bales in plastic.

Johnston said one of the reasons he liked the square bale system was because they have been used in the United States for a number of years, meaning that there is a lot of operator experience with the system.

"The people I talked to really liked the machines ... they were all happy," Johnston said, regardless of the level of maintenance each received.

Another big factor in Johnston's decision, he said, is the bottom line. The square bale system would cost less. According to information supplied by Grimes, the round bale system would cost about $1.8 million to initially install, while the round baler system used at the landfill this summer would cost about $2.2 million.

Commissioner Betty Fear said she agreed with Johnston's preference for the square bale system.

Commissioner Bill Cramer said whether the bales are square or round doesn't matter to him, but the cost of the project does.

Fear said while members of the public may be appalled at the amount of money the county is considering spending to take care of garbage, they are also appalled at the amount of garbage. The commission noted that under the current system, the county digs a new cell every eight months, costing $100,000 each.

The balefill system will extend the life of the landfill facility about 30 percent, Grimes said, while eliminating the blowing garbage problem associated with the landfill.

"If we have the money next year, that's what we'll do," Fear said.

Construction could begin as early as May or June, according to Grimes, should the commission decide to do so. The commission is anticipating Grimes' firm will present a scope of work contract for the design as the next step.

The commission made it clear that, although it intends to go with the square baler system, this is not a final decision, as the money for the project hasn't been allocated.

In other landfill business, the commission briefly discussed the latest on the landfill cell excavation. McGinnis said while the cell is complete, Koch Construction is 67 days into the penalty phase of the contract, which means a fine of $350 per day. That totals $23,450, McGinnis said, but added that he intends to negotiate with Koch the cost of ripping work on the project. McGinnis said he received a bill for $37,450 from Koch for the ripping.

See The Archives for past articles.

Copyright © 2002, 2003 Sublette Examiner
All rights reserved. Reproduction by any means must have permission of the Publisher.
Sublette Examiner, PO Box 1539, Pinedale, WY 82941   Phone 307-367-3203