Solid waste board debated definition of a secured load at Monday meeting

By Ernie Over, managing editor, county10.com

(Lander, Wyo.) – The definition of a secured load was a major item of discussion at Monday’s Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District Board in Lander. District Superintendent Andy Frey said district employees have been experiencing verbal abuse from customers when the trash haulers are assessed an additional $5 fine for not having their load secured.

District Attorney Rick Sollars said  the definition of  “secured” is somewhat vague in the district’s current rules and regulations, which he said may lead to “arbitrary” enforcement, depending on which employee is on duty.

An example of a secured load of plastic trash bags at the Pavillion  transfer station. The elastic "spider web" holds the plastic bags in place and prevents them from blowing out of the bed of the pickup. (Ernie Over photo)

An example of a secured load of plastic trash bags at the Pavillion transfer station. The elastic “spider web” holds the plastic bags in place and prevents them from blowing out of the bed of the pickup. The load could also be secured with tie downs, a tarp or other cover.  (Ernie Over photo)

The board discussed what “secured” meant, with several different opinions. Board member Mike Morgan of Dubois said he believes that if trash is secured if it’s in a plastic bag that is tied closed. “That’s securing the trash,” he said. Frey, however, said even bagged trash under Morgan’s definition could be blown out of the back of a pickup truck, especially if the load exceeds the height of the pickup bed or trailer. “We have to hire staff to go around at our sites to pick up garbage that blows out of loads,” he said.

“But it’s not our business to enforce this on state roads,” Morgan said.

Baumann said the tied plastic trash bags could be placed into a container with a lid. “That will secure them,” he said.

New board member Gary Weisz of Shoshoni asked if his several bags of trash had to be secured, even though the speed limit from his home to the Shoshoni transfer station is 20 mph. “Yes,” Frey said.

As written, the current rule, which has been in effect for a decade or more, says, in Chapter II, Section 8, paragraph (A) “Solid Waste conveyed to any solid waste disposal site within the District, whether a landfill, transfer station or baling station, must be tied, covered or secured in such a manner that the waste shall not and cannot be strewn upon the streets, roads and highways within Fremont County. All loose solid waste must be secured with a lid, a tarp, or other adequate and secure cover; (B) Any person who transports waste to a solid waste disposal site in violation of this Section shall have imposed un them the following: 1. First Violation, fee in the amount of $5.00.” Subsequent violations by the same trash hauler are subject in increasing fines, up to $100 on a fourth violation including suspension of the trash hauler’s access to the disposal site.

“Behavior modification is the issue,” said board member Steve Baumann of Lander. “It happens if people are not willing to address their behavior.

Morgan said he appreciated that there be a need for regulations, “but…”  And Baumann said specificity is needed to eliminate the confusion.

Frey said the District’s rule mirrors Wyoming State Statutes. “Every solid waste operation I’ve ever been involved with has had this regulation,” he said.

Frey said he would work on a better definition to satisfy the board members and present the definition at the next board meeting. The District’s revised set of Rules and Regulations, once approved by the board, would be subject to a 45 day public comment period before they could be adopted.