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April 08, 2010 3:23 am

Illegal trash dumping must be prevented

Written by Tribune Staff

With the impending partial-closure of Powell's landfill and increased garbage rates, the outlook for local trash collection is gloomy. It's a reality city leaders have faced for years, but the forecast became drearier this week for Powell leaders hoping for a transfer station.

Mayor Scott Mangold said the “little bit of brightness in our dark garbage future” was the possibility of a transfer station in Powell, where residents could take household garbage once it is barred from the current landfill.

A bright spot no more.

The 1-cent tax proposal aimed to pay for landfill costs will no longer include funding for transfer stations in Powell, Meeteetse or Clark.

The development comes as a disappointment for Powell — leaders worry that without a transfer station, illegal dumping will increase. That risk concerns residents countywide.

If someone hauling a truckload of trash, including household garbage, is turned away from the Powell landfill, is it likely they'll trek to Cody? Or will they skip the drive and dump the trash in a ditch?

“The loads that get rejected there are going to end up in the ditches of east Park County,” said Councilman John Wetzel on Monday.

The possibility of litter-strewn fields and ditches is sickening.

Another legitimate fear in Powell is that rural residents will empty their trash in city dumpsters. The mayor has jokingly alluded to padlocks for dumpsters.

County leaders have discussed funding roll-off bins at landfill sites. That way, residents would be able to dispose of trash without driving to Cody or hiring a private hauler. Those bins' capacity, however, is limited compared to a transfer station.

As landfill plans progress, we expect county officials to seriously consider the possibility of increased illegal dumping and take preventative measures to curb it.

Rural and city residents alike take pride in the natural beauty surrounding their homes. It will be a shame if trash ends up anywhere other than the landfill.