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Council moves forward with landfill expansion

Boulder City is in the next steps of expanding its landfill after city staff worked with Geotechnical &Environmental Services to break down a cost-effective plan for the project.

The plan was discussed during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting, where the council and staff agreed that it was better to tackle the issue sooner rather than later. Public Works Director Scott Hansen said after meeting with GES, it was determined that expanding the entire landfill would cost the city $443,000 from the utility fund.

During its Jan. 13 meeting, the council recommended that Hansen meet further with GES to discuss a more cost-effective strategy that broke the expansion into phases.

The first three phases, which Hansen said are expected to be completed by the end of August, will cost $131,000. The first task will be to conduct a study that verifies the depth of the bedrock in the 60-acre landfill. He said it’s one of the key components to determine if a liner is needed, which is more common in places with heavier rainfall.

“The No. 1 requirement when designing a landfill is to make sure you don’t impact the waters of the state,” Hansen said.

He added that previous tests determined there wasn’t any groundwater near the landfill, and he’s hopeful that Boulder City’s elements will help the project move forward without a liner.

“Here, we have 114 inches of evaporation a year and 4 inches of rain,” Hansen said. “The hard rock layers underneath the landfill act as a natural liner. The elements really work in our favor.”

The Southern Nevada Health District has already told the city it can expand the landfill without a liner if GES says it’s all right to do so, Hansen said.

“If we can do an expansion without the installation of a liner, that’s going to save us ($20 million to) $30 million,” he said. “It’s a huge cost savings.”

Councilman Duncan McCoy said it’s important for the city to take care of the expansion without having to wait too much longer.

“If we are going to consider expanding the landfill in the future, this is all work that needs to be done,” he said. “If we wait 15 to 20 years to go through with this, it’s probably going to cost us a lot more. I think we need to move forward on this.”

“We should do it now while we can,” Councilwoman Peggy Leavitt said.

Completing the first task will take about two months, Hansen said. It was previously determined that the landfill would reach its maximum capacity from 2036 to 2048, but Hansen said that would increase by about 50 years once the landfill is expanded.

Contact reporter Steven Slivka at sslivka@bouldercityreview.com or at 702-586-9401. Follow him on Twitter @StevenSlivka.

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