Casper-(KCWY) "The local governments need to make local decisions that are right for them,” said Bob Doctor, the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality’s Solid Waste Program Director.
"Were getting stuck, we either have to build something or find something to take it to,” said Owen Mathews a council member from Moorcroft.
The Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality's plan calls for the closure of half of the state’s current landfills in the next ten years. The measure is necessary to prevent leaking into water supplies, begging the question: how will local governments afford the fixes?
"When you have 99 communities in the state and 90 of those are the small communities that have annual budgets that are less than street projects that go on in some communities,” said Mathews.
Small communities in the state can't afford modifications to their landfills or to truck trash away, so many say the only option is to raise rates to pay for a solution.
"You may be paying 50 to 70 plus a month in garbage fees just to have the garbage taken away from your house,” said Mathews.
"In most communities rates were not established well enough to pay for the cost of capping their landfill,” said Doctor.
Now they will have to also pay for the cost of transferring their trash, if they can find a place to take it. Some may even have additional added costs to clean up their leaking landfill.
"One of the big solutions now is the regional approach, small communities getting together and sharing a regional landfill, but there are a lot of political hurdles to get through to do that,” said Doctor.
Mathews says he thinks everybody agrees there are problems with landfills in the state, but adds not everybody agrees with what’s been said about their own city's landfill.
"Were moving the ball forward good things are happening, but they are not easy and that's why people are so concerned about how to do this,” said Doctor.