I thought a series on solid waste might be helpful for constituents to understand a little more about a topic that is every commissioner’s favorite subject and every taxpayer’s favorite nemesis.
Solid waste falls into several categories: 1) Household waste or putrescible waste, 2) C&D or construction and demolition, 3) scrap metals, 4) recyclables and 5) hazardous waste. They are all disposed of in different ways and are all subject to different rules by EPA and IDEQ. The State of Idaho statutorily requires counties within the state to properly dispose of solid waste generated within their respective counties.
It wasn’t always this way. How many remember when burn barrels were commonplace, tin cans and a myriad of other things went to the junkyard – usually some ravine or draw somewhere – and for most rural residents, food waste went to the hogs? Even then, some kind of sorting was taking place to make sure things were going to the correct destination. And let’s not forget when it was commonplace to pitch bottles and trash out the car window as you were driving down the road. Each of these methods of disposal had a downside – fires, burns, injuries, smell, vermin, unsightliness, lack of hogs and environmental degradation and damage.
Somewhere in the late ‘60s and early ‘70s, the government stepped in and said no more to these practices and the Dempsey Dumpster was born. Soon there were dumpsters everywhere and the convenience of discarding all manners of waste in one location just down the road was born. Along with it came a cost to the counties to have these dumpsters emptied on a regular basis and have this waste disposed of, the birth of the solid waste fee. Ironically, this new method of disposal carried many of the same problems as the old methods and added a few more cases of abuse, not to mention the ever-increasing cost of making the waste go away.
So where does this waste go? That depends on the type of waste. If it is C&D waste, branches, furniture, sheetrock, lumber, etc., it will go to either Simmons or Wilco’s C&D landfill right here in Idaho County. Both are licensed to accept this type of waste. Obviously, the haul is short. This is the only type of waste these two landfills can accept. If it is household (putrescible) waste, it either has to be trucked to Missoula or Payette. These are the lined and heavily monitored landfills which is also where all tires must go. For the most part, they charge by the ton and by the tire that goes in them.
As you can imagine, their rates and what they will accept constantly change, as does the cost of transporting the waste to them; not to mention that in either case, the route from Idaho County to either of them follows some very important rivers. The insurance to cover this haul is expensive and always increasing. Steel and sheet metal such as appliances and barbed wire go to whichever scrapper is paying the most – it is basically a recyclable. Other recyclables go to whoever is accepting them at the time or, if there is no one accepting them, they must be trucked to the landfill, too.
In a future edition: dumpsters.
Welcome to the discussion.
Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
PLEASE TURN OFF YOUR CAPS LOCK.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.