Desert Messenger

February 15, 2012

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February 15, 2012 We have talked about the steps of recycling: sorting, delivering, establishing a recycling habit, starting young, affirming that we are great recyclers, and establishing a prepared environment to recycle. This column will be about what happens to the resources we don't recycle. The La Paz County Landfill and the eight county transfer stations are provided for us for our gar- bage. I took time this week to visit and recycle at the Quartzsite transfer station, which is on the left as you drive north from Quartzsite on Hwy. 95. It is staffed Sunday thru Wednesday from 7:30am to 2:30pm by a cheerful woman in safety gear who as- sisted me. County residents, including winter visitors, can back up to below road level bins and deliver garbage. There are also 16 small recycling bins for: glass (sorted by color), plastic jars (lids removed), mixed plastic, newspa- per, cardboard, aluminum cans, tin cans, and mixed paper. From here the garbage is trans- ferred to the landfill further North on Highway 95 at mile marker 128. Dean Pankowski, operations manager, gave me a tour of our landfill. It was fas- cinating, technical and motivating. I'm even more motivated to recycle and help others do so, after this tour. This site has been operating since 1988. A mound is being built. It will be 940 feet above sea level or about 140 feet above ground. Work is going on now on "cell" six. Each cell is about 5 acres. To begin a new cell, heavy equipment digs and clears about JD's Custom Wood Signs Gold Chain by the Inch Come see us at Tyson Wells Centre • Space 28 Judy & Dennis Meyer 208-890-5109 • 208-861-6408 Paperglassaluminumtinplastic 150 feet below ground level. A stiff 60/1000th of an inch poly liner is placed on the ground and seam- lessly connected to the liner already in place. Then comes a very expensive felt to protect the integrity of the liner. Sand, gravel, and sand are layered on top of the felt before the first 15 feet of garbage is buried. The dump trucks dump, the bull dozer dozes and the 50 ton compacter with 7 inch steel cleets compacts. The exposed area of garbage is small. At 15 feet the garbage is covered with one foot of clay. Another small exposed section is started. Eventually it will be topped with 2 more feet of local earth and planted with native plants. This costs 1 to 2 million dollars a cell. It usually takes 2 to 4 years to build a cell. For safety purposes the methane gas produced in the compacted layers of garbage is monitored. Our landfill does not produce enough gas for cost effective recovery. Leachate is also monitored to protect the ground water. It collects from rainfall on the liner and must be pumped out at a certain level to evaporating ponds. Three fences protect the nearby land from flying plastic bags. The water truck runs constantly dur- ing operation to protect the air quality, because our landfill accepts asbestos. It is operated completely off the grid. The power source is a diesel generator. It has wells and a re- serve pond 65 feet deep. If we don't recycle the ma- terials and resources and compost our garden and food waste it is all buried forever. This expensive grave is costing us $2,000,000.00 for every five acres. Dottie Palmer, DAY NIGHT SHADES REPAIRED 3 YEAR UNCONDITIONAL GUARANTEE Local Resident • FREE Estimates Larry - cell 928-273-3719 Page 23 "The coolest little rock shop in Quartzsite!" Open through March! GOLD & SILVER Rocks, Slabs and Hand Cut Cabs PLUS all the stuff you need for Prospecting, Rockhounding, & Lapidary 605-376-8754 Factory Chords! RICE RANCH A-37 (next to Al's Consignment) Featuring jewelry by Soaring Eagle Designs

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