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Garbage, ho! City begins hauling MSW to Billings

Vance Naylor, a Warren Transport driver (left), chats with Sanitation/Public Health Superintendent Darrell Rood before taking the city’s first load of garbage to the Billings landfill on July 1. Vance Naylor, a Warren Transport driver (left), chats with Sanitation/Public Health Superintendent Darrell Rood before taking the city’s first load of garbage to the Billings landfill on July 1. Tribune photo by Tom Lawrence

In case you’re wondering what 17 tons of garbage smells like up close: Not good. Nope, not good at all.

But the departure of the first load of municipal solid waste (MSW) from Powell to Billings, Mont., was sweet news for the city, which saw its efforts to take the household waste to the Billings landfill come to fruition July 1. The city had been taking its MSW to a Big Horn County landfill in Cowley.

City Administrator Zane Logan said he was glad to see the process get underway. Logan said he discussed it with his wife and told her how relieved he was to see the discussion come to a halt and the actual work start.

“It’s been many years, about eight or 10, really a lot the last three or four,” he said. “It’s nice to have a decision made, the council made a decision. We’ll see how it goes. Now we can get onto other stuff. We have other things to deal with.”

Park County Commissioner Tim French stopped at the Tribune office June 30 and said he hopes Powell will bring its business, and garbage, back to the county landfill someday. Logan said that is possible.

“If things change and the numbers change, we’re always open to that,” he said. “We’re not tied down to Billings. We’re always looking at options.”

But on July 1, Vance Naylor of Warren Transport hauled the initial load across the state line, departing from the city’s transfer station at 7:45 a.m.

Naylor estimated it would take him five hours to drive the 94 miles from the city’s Municipal Solid Waste Transfer Station, located on North Ingalls Street between Fourth and Fifth streets, to the Billings landfill, drop the 17 tons, and return the city’s trailer to Powell.

Warren Transport Inc., which has facilities in Warren, Mont., and Lovell, is paid $500 per round trip. The hauling contract will cost around $162,000 annually, with Warren Transport providing the insurance that Billings requires from its clients.

It’s all part of the new process, since the Powell City Council voted to take its MSW to Billings, lured by a $26.07 tipping fee, the term used for dropping off a load. That’s in comparison to the $72 fee offered at the Park County Landfill in Cody.

The Billings City Council approved a five-year deal with Powell last month. Either side can opt out with 30 days notice.

Powell estimates it will spend about $165,000 annually at the landfill taking four to five loads a week there depending on the time of year. More garbage piles up during warmer months.

The city studied the decision for years, and while doing so it built the transfer station for about $1.43 million, with about half of that paid by a grant from the State Loan and Investment Board.

It also bought the transfer trailer from Nexgen Municipal Inc. of Burlington, Ontario, Canada, for $172,114, with most of the money coming from a state grant. Earlier this year the city ordered a second one for $198,526; it is slated to arrive in August, giving the city a backup and allowing it to rotate the trailers, reducing the wear and tear on them. The current trailer holds more than 17 tons; the new one will take more than 21 million tons.

Sanitation/Public Health Superintendent Darrell Rood admitted he was “a little nervous” watching the first load depart.

“We’re old, been here a long time, and things are changing,” Rood said with a smile.

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4 comments

  • posted by John

    July 14, 2014 2:47 pm

    21 million tons on the new trailer? Where can I get a trailer that big?

    That has to be a typo...

  • posted by Salty Dawg

    July 10, 2014 10:07 am

    Kara, how do you think the city has to pay for the former mayor's expensive fiber optic fiasco and the swimming pool debacle?

  • posted by Kara

    July 10, 2014 9:27 am

    I live within Powell city limits and have had my city bill go up regularly, unfortunately my income has not. Personally, the difference between $26 in Billings and $72 in Cody makes a big impact. Other than the money to be made, I'm not really sure how adding tons and tons of trash to the Park County landfill in Cody really benefits anyone locally?

  • posted by Carl Galel

    July 08, 2014 8:15 pm

    This is a good thing for Billings. I understand that several big money, Billings business men were involved in tipping this deal towards Billings Montana.

    This puts people like A-1 Sanitation out of business. Good job Powell.

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