Inside Beatrice: City Landfill

BEATRICE – Trash is set out on the curb and picked up twice a week. The City of Beatrice pays their bill and forgets about it. But all of the trash that is set out has to go somewhere, but where? Street Superintendent Jason Moore says that in years past trash would be compressed through a baler, but recently there has been some changes.

“In the City of Beatrice curbside pickup is contracted by Beatrice Sanitary. When people take the garbage out of their house, they will bring it out and put it on curbside, twice a week your garbage is picked up by Beatrice Sanitary, they will bring it out to the city landfill, up to BASWA, which is Beatrice Area Solid Waste Agency. And what we do is, in years past we’ve brought the material out and we’ve ran it through a bailing machine. A baler is a large compactor, and it would push all of the garbage onto a compacting conveyor belt, which would bring it up, dump it into a hopper.

The hopper would then chop it up, drop it into a compacting device and it would squeeze it into a bail almost like if you would a straw bail. The bails were normally about three feet tall, maybe three feet wide and about five or six feet long. It would come out of the back side of the baler and in essence I like to think of the bails of garbage almost as if they were Legos.

We take the bails of garbage, we stack them in the back of a truck, run them up into the landfill and we would stack them in place on top of each other and everything would fit in place. The landfill is shaped to be about like a pyramid. We build, in essence a pyramidal shape and it builds into phase one, two, and three. We are currently in phase four right now and we stack the bails and we cover it up with and alternative daily cover, which [what] we use right now is dirt.”

Phase four has around two more years left in its capacity. Phase one was started around 1990 and phase four is the last at this landfill. Once it is full Moore says a piggyback system has been set up.

“When we are done with the phase that we are in right now we will go into what we call a piggyback. The piggyback is… There is an old landfill area on this site and then there is the new landfill and the new land fill is what we call phase one, two, three and four.

In the area between the two landfills it is a big valley and the valley is what we are looking at to be a piggyback. We are going to piggyback from the old landfill to the new landfill and take that life, that airspace out of that and fill it up with garbage.

Right now, what we are looking at is we’re probably looking to start the permitting process for the piggyback in this month or next month and we will probably look to start construction of the removal of the soil that is in place now, the placement of the liner for the piggyback in the spring, early summer of next year so that we are ready when phase four finishes out.”

Loose-filling a landfill with a compactor is better for the community because it saves money. Since the trash is compacted it takes less steps and power to get the trash to the phase area and they are able to use a paper-like covering instead of dirt which will save space and money.

From hand to can to street to landfill the City of Beatrice’s garbage disposal is progressing right along with the rest of the city.

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