Ceremony slated for Eco Station opening Nov. 19

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By Jennifer Garcia

Since its inception, the Environmental Sustainability Board has met a handful of times to discuss how to go about getting Los Alamos to be more environmentally conscious and how to get residents to go green.

One of the ideas the Board has moved forward with is the Eco Station, and as a result of the Board’s efforts, the Eco Station will hold a ribbon cutting ceremony on Nov. 19 from 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

Snacks will be served at the ceremony and the public is invited to attend.

Starting today, in preparation for the opening of the Eco Station, people will be routed through the new scale entrance of the Eco Station to get to the landfill.

“We need to keep filling the landfill to the final grades of the closure design, so waste will go into the landfill until the final elevations are met,” Environmental Services Manager Regina Wheeler said.

Wheeler said that the county would accept trash in the transfer station on Dec. 15, after completing the final permit inspection with the New Mexico Environment Department.

Construction of the landfill cover and final closure is expected to begin next year.

The project will consist mainly of installing a three-foot thick soil cover all over the landfill.

However, a portion of the landfill will get a special asphalt-like cover, so that recycling operations can occur on the old landfill.

That portion of the landfill with the special cover will be part of the Eco Station recycling operations.

“We are very excited about this innovative plan to use old landfill space for recycling operations,” Wheeler said.

She said the closure construction would be funded from a reserve that the county saved over the life of the landfill.

There’s more good news in regard to the landfill, as county council approved the contracts for transporting and disposing of Los Alamos County’s waste.

The approval of the contracts means that the county can take waste to either the Rio Rancho landfill or the Valencia County landfill, which are both owned and operated by Waste Management of New Mexico.

The cost for transportation and disposal combined will be approximately $45 per ton, which was the budgeted amount for such an operation.

Wheeler said that a rate study would be conducted next summer as planned; to assess actual costs of operating the new Eco Station and the rates will be adjusted as necessary.

“One thing that helps to control costs is recycling, and this community does a great job of that,” Wheeler said. “Most families are recycling at home and now we are working with the businesses in Los Alamos County to recycle at work.”