Interim rural solid waste management IV
Suggested Steps that Might Be Taken Immediately, with Currently Available Resources, to Improve Solid Waste Management and to Alleviate Problems at the Dump
These suggestions for short-term initiatives are something new we’re trying out, in response to your suggestions and those of other Villages. If they don’t work or if you all come up with improvements, please let me know. I’ll make changes and pass the ideas along. Some of these items will become part of operations at any new landfill. Some are suggested so the Council can safely close the existing dump, when that becomes necessary.
Sometimes trying to do everything at once to improve the sanitation in a community can be overwhelming. Not even small improvements may then seem possible.
However, the community has already initiated efforts to improve its solid waste management. In addition, the current dump, while having its own particular challenges, has some basic elements that provide a suitable starting point to improve solid waste management within existing community resources.
Manage access and control spread of litter
Set up specific areas for people to dump new wastes. It often helps to steer people with written signs (“dump here”) or color coordinated flags and physical barriers (temporary fencing or guideposts along the access drive into the designated dumping point). The existing sign helps; even though there is a tendency for folks to dump only where the gravel pad is maintained, there are still lots of wastes are put haphazardly. The sign about dumping area was erected, but had fallen by time of inspection.
Detailed suggestions for constructing a designated waste disposal cell into the ridge next to the dump road, were contained in the earlier fax. An area 10 ft by 20 ft may be enough room for the community this winter season, especially if people burn their paper and cardboard in home fireplaces or stoves and only dispose of ash and unburnables. Stockpiles of cover material can be placed to act as berms to divert water around the cell and to act as windbreaks for users.
Control disposal by setting up just certain days of the week for the dump to be open for use
Mark entrances with signs that include the council’s contact numbers (for residents to report problems or to offer suggestions).
Keep the woods and tundra clear of litter. Temporary litter fencing at the trench itself might help with this.
Designate a separate re-use / salvage area for appliances, equipment, and vehicles. Set up aluminum can recycling program, if possible.
Avoid hazardous materials
Begin monthly or weekly visual monitoring (keep records on file) for hazardous materials, litter, erosion, animal problems, etc. Examples of visual checklists from other villages might be adapted for your needs. Perhaps these reports might also be sent to the Council and posted at the washeteria or post office as part of a community solid waste education program.
Place signs at the dump to remind people of the hazardous materials which do not belong there. The signs should state that lead-acid batteries, oil, explosives, PCBs, liquids in excess of one gallon, and other hazardous wastes are not to be left at the dump. Indicate where these materials can properly go for disposal or recycling.
Map the old dump. When were cleanups conducted? What kinds of wastes have been buried in the past? Where were these materials put? How deep were the trenches? How much soil or other cover was there? Note on the map if lead-acid batteries were removed when found; if appliances had Freon removed; if oil filters were hot drained before disposal, etc.
Maintain sanitary operations
Compact wastes on a regular basis, whenever wastes get two feet deep, by running over materials at least five times with heavy equipment
Cover once a month in summer with 6 inches of soil or gravel, or more frequently if needed. Before spring melt, remove snow from the trench or waste disposal cell, and then cover any exposed wastes as soon as cover materials are thawed and workable.
Dog waste, and fish and animal remains from subsistence activities can spread diseases and attract scavengers, including birds and bears. A small pit could be dug for each season’s subsistence refuse and dog carcasses. This animal waste is kept separate from other solid waste, then limed and buried. Improve the designated carcass pit by providing lime in a dry storage bin and the cover material nearby. Lime is a disinfectant and controls odors. Carcasses should be dusted with lime as soon as they are dropped off. Add six to 12 inches of cover immediately when soil is thawed enough to work in the spring.
Begin or continue community education about solid waste. Demonstrations of where to place trash, what should not be dumped, etc. might be useful for local residents. Some people have suggested using guided tours but flyers, newsletters, plays, dances, or videotapes are other ideas to try.
Ban uncontrolled open burning at the dump
Encourage residents to use their home burnboxes or barrels. Alternatively, provide an attendant and a burn-box or a designated burning area, to cut down on paper trash and litter.
Document current efforts for future solid waste management
Assemble existing records for the dump into its own file. Include, for example, copies of land ownership records, ordinances and resolutions, and community education materials. Records for any new landfill would be maintained in a similar fashion.
Now would be a good time to start calculating how much waste the community must dispose of in its landfill. This would be useful information for designing a new solid waste management plan and landfill. A planned landfill one won’t be larger and more expensive than necessary, yet would be large enough to meet future community needs.
Next spring, map the dump. Map this year’s trash cell or “working face” location— Where was this year’s trash located in relation to the road, property boundaries, old trenches, and old berms? When were previous cleanups or bulldozing of wastes conducted? What kinds of wastes have been buried in the past? Where were these materials put? How deep were any trenches? How much soil or other cover was there? Note on the map if lead-acid batteries were removed when found; if appliances had Freon removed; if oil filters were hot drained before disposal, etc. A useful community education tool might be to have residents locate old solid waste deposits around the Village, for example, where are drums, old vehicles, and batteries located?
Establish permanent markers for the existing dump boundaries, such as concrete posts.
Review tribal and city ordinances; add or modify as needed.
An improved carcass pit would be an interesting experiment for the City. As you suggested, the following parts — all of which could be moved to a new area when the old pit area is filled — would be useful.
an unlined pit with a platform and a roof (but not totally enclosed)
a nearby dry storage shed for the lime
a nearby stockpile of cover material.
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