Amid criticism, solid waste district plans Atlantic City meeting

Jun 6, 2012 By Martin Reed, Staff Writer

Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District officials will meet with Atlantic City residents Thursday night in the South Pass community to discuss concerns about severely decreased trash transfer station hours.

In an interview Wednesday, District superintendent Andy Frey said the meeting resulted from several concerns expressed by the community's residents.

"There's been just such a tremendous amount of calls from that area, so we're just going to get up there and talk to them. In fact, they asked us to," Frey said.

The meeting at the Miner's Delight bed and breakfast in Atlantic City starts at 6:30 p.m.

The district's board last month approved changes at most trash transfer stations in the county as a financial move that resulted in limits hours at two to three days a month compared to their former 24-7 availability.

The sites with the reduced hours are Atlantic City, Jeffrey City, Hudson, Missouri Valley, Pavillion, Lysite and Shoshoni. The Dubois station is not affected, and the four sites on the Wind River Indian Reservation are part of ongoing negotiations for tribal management of them.

Frey is proposing an extra day at certain sites each month. The solid waste board will address transfer stations during its meeting that starts at 6 p.m. on Monday, June 11, at the Lander landfill offices.

The changes are not only generating complaints from residents who dispose of their trash at the sites but also from some county commissioners concerned about the new hours.

"This solid waste issue needs to be addressed," commission chairman Doug Thompson said during the board's meeting on Tuesday. "The outlying communities have been ignored."

Thompson noted the new transfer station hours will cause trash to accumulate at homes and businesses for several days at a time. He called it an "unworkable situation and a threat to the health and safety of the county."

"In this vein we need to clearly express our disappointment with the board," Thompson said.

With the limited hours, the solid waste district "might as well close the transfer stations and make everybody go to the landfills," he said.

In the former uranium boom town of Jeffrey City near where Thompson resides, he said residents told district officials they would volunteer at the transfer station to keep it open daily.

"It was pretty much totally ignored, and that is disappointing to me," he said.

The Split Rock Cafe in Jeffrey City would face significant challenges with its trash, Thompson said. "I don't think the Split Rock can have that capacity to keep that trash around," he said.

The same concerns exist for Atlantic City residents, including Marjane Ambler, who has lived in the area since 2007 but initially moved to the community for a stint in 1980.

"We think our situation is a little different since we have such a tourism economy," Ambler said, criticizing the solid waste district for limiting the hours based on monthly trash averages "instead of taking into consideration the seasonal nature of Atlantic City."

Ambler said the Miner's Grubstake restaurant in Atlantic City would face significant challenges. "Because they're probably the biggest, this affects them more than anyone else," she said.

"They're open six days a week from 12 to 14 hours a day. They serve like 60 meals a day through the summer. They generate a lot of bottles, food garbage and just quantities" that would create a severe hardship on the business due to trash disposal, Ambler said.

The town has other businesses including the Atlantic City Mercantile and the Miner's Delight bed and breakfast that would also be hit, she said. The area also offers the state rest stop nearby, two Bureau of Land Management campgrounds and the South Pass City Historic Site.

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