Rebuilding the landfill better | News, Sports, Jobs

Tama County Landfill staff pictured include (left to right) Darla Thiessen, Dave Sherwood, Rod Radeke and Pat Bevins. After the 2020 derecho, staff worked 12-hour days for two consecutive weeks to keep operations open at the landfill as cleanup efforts delivered tons of debris and materials to the landfill in a short time. – Photo by Darvin Graham

As spring cleaning projects kick off in the coming weeks, area residents visiting the Tama County landfill will be greeted with a new feature that aims to make the landfill more user-friendly.

Landfill staff, in coordination with the Tama County Landfill Commission, have been preparing for the construction of a convenience center at the landfill for nearly three years. The $53,000 project recently came to fruition and can be seen upon entering the landfill on the north side of the driveway, just beyond the weigh station.

Although it is impossible to buy a bottle of pop or a lottery ticket at this convenience store, it lives up to its name.

Previously, when customers came to the landfill to drop off waste, they had to drive their vehicle directly into the area where the waste was compacted with the landfill’s industrial equipment.

Now those heading to the landfill to drop off their trash can use the convenience store, which consists of a raised concrete slab and two dumpsters resting against the side of the concrete. Customers can back their vehicle onto the concrete slab and dump their trash into the dumpsters below without having to drive through the mud and mess of the compaction area.

At the newly built convenience center at the Tama County Landfill (pictured), customers can back up their vehicles or trailers onto a concrete slab and then dump their load of landfill materials from a ledge into a pair of 30 yards roll-off skips that personnel can easily empty into the primary section of the landfill. The convenience center allows customers with smaller vehicles and trailers to use the dump without the safety concerns of navigating the dump pit where large loaders operate and the risk of running over a sharp object is bigger. – Photo by Darvin

“It really is a win-win situation for the customers and for us here at the landfill,” said Tama County Landfill Manager Dave Sherwood. “It helped make things safer and more efficient.”

Sherwood said while waste must be moved from the dumpsters to the compaction area, the addition of the convenience center has saved time for staff who previously had to redirect or pick up after customers if they were driving. and threw. their waste in the wrong place.

The landfill wrecker can accommodate up to four vehicles at a time and is available for customers with cars, SUVs, pickup trucks and trailers without a tipping mechanism.

“I love it,” said landfill worker Rod Radeke. “With people using the convenience store, we don’t have to worry about them interfering with our truck and loader doors while we’re working there. It made things much safer and easier for everyone.

Along with building the convenience store, the landfill has undertaken or is working on a handful of other improvements within the facility.

The Libra Home and Office also recently received a small addition to the west side of the building which includes a conference room and above ground storm shelter.

Previously, the Landfill Commission held its meetings in Tama at the county engineer’s office. Sherwood said adding space to accommodate committee meetings at the landfill has been helpful so the group can easily see the areas they are discussing.

The need for a storm shelter quickly became apparent following the 2020 derecho which destroyed some of the landfill buildings while staff were working there.

The 2020 storm damage estimate was approximately $170,000 and included damage to the roof of the landfill workshop and damage to the recycling building which was totally demolished by straight-line winds.

Not only did the landfill sustain significant damage, but it was also called upon throughout the weeks and months following the storm to deal with a significantly increased load of waste, including all the downed trees that were herded into communities from Toledo and Vining. with an incalculable amount of debris.

Instead of pulling vehicles into the landfill’s main compaction area to dump trash, landfill customers can back into a convenient dump area where they don’t have to walk through the mud and trash can be dumped in a dumpster under the concrete ledge. — Photo by Darvin Graham

Sherwood said after the storm, he and his team worked 12-hour days for two straight weeks to help keep the landfill going with the increased demand for post-storm cleanup.

A year and a half later, plans have been drawn up to rebuild the recycling building later this year. Once completed, it will also offer a new service dealing with chemical materials deposited in landfill.

An exchange store will be set up in the landfill’s new recycling building that will allow residents to access containers of products such as paint, cleaners, oil and glue, among other things. that have been deposited in the landfill but cannot otherwise be deposited in the landfill. . These items will be available free of charge and on a first-come, first-served basis. Sherwood said he hopes the recycling building and exchange store will be operational later this year.

In an effort to help fund recent improvement projects, the landfill in January announced its minimum tipping fee for loads brought to the landfill of $10 to $15.

For more information and landfill updates, check out their Facebook page at Tama County Landfill. The Tama County Landfill is open Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturday from 7:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For questions regarding landfill services, call 641-484-5061.

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