Lander council hears landfill update; disposal district will close Riverton transfer station to waste around 2027

    The Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District shared information about its 2023 strategic plan with the Lander City Council during a regular meeting this week.

    The strategic plan addresses the upcoming closure of the Lander landfill, which is expected to reach capacity “sometime between 2028 and 2029,” according to FCSWDD representative Andy Frey.

    “That triggers necessary changes within our program,” Frey told the council.


    New primary landfill

    When the Lander landfill closes, the FCSWDD will turn the facility into a transfer station, Frey said, and the landfill at Sand Draw will become the “primary landfill for the county – just as the Lander landfill has served as the primary landfill for the county since 2014.”

    The transfer station in Lander will only accept residential and self-hauler waste, Frey said, and it will be equipped with new scale facilities to accommodate inbound and outbound traffic.

    There will be new scale facilities at Sand Draw too, he continued, and the FCSWDD will “increase the working space” there “to account for onsite maintenance, administrative staff, and additional equipment operators.”

    “As (Sand Draw) transitions into our primary landfill, we’re going to have a tremendous workforce out there, very similar to what we have at the Lander landfill now,” Frey said. “We’re going to need space to accommodate them.”


    The district will also “improve the entrance road” to Sand Draw so that it can “handle increased traffic,” he said.

    Other changes needed

    If nothing else changes within district operations after the Lander landfill closes, Frey said projected expenses will exceed projected revenues.

    “We just simply couldn’t afford it,” he said. “(It’s) not sustainable long-term.”


    The district board considered several alternatives to address the budget issue, Frey said, including the idea to close all district facilities except the Sand Draw landfill – a plan that would generate $4 million in annual savings.

    “If we (were) in it solely to make a profit, this is the one,” he said. “But unfortunately everybody in the county would need to direct-haul their trash, or coordinate with a commercial hauler. (That’s) rather inconvenient.”

    Another option is closing the Riverton transfer station to waste, leaving only recycling and waste diversion services at that facility – but Frey said that alternative didn’t result in enough cost-savings.


    If the district closed the Riverton transfer station to waste and closed the Dubois landfill, however, Frey said they would save “enough to be able to sustain the program” – but that option “would impact Dubois greatly.”

    “Large commercial projects would then be on the hook to haul … all the way to Sand Draw, (which is) 85 miles each way – so, quite the burden,” he said. “(The board) just felt uncomfortable with it.”

    Finally, he said, the board also considered closing all of its existing facilities except the Sand Draw and Dubois landfills and opening a “new centralized transfer station” – but Frey said that idea “went against almost all of (their) priorities.”

    h/t Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District via City of Lander

    Consultant recommendation

    A consultant recommended a “hybrid” of the options the board considered, Frey said, along with adjustments to district disposal rates that would “incentivize direct-hauling to the Sand Draw landfill.”

    “The idea was to lower the disposal fee at Sand Draw, (with) a minor increase in disposal fees here in Lander,” Frey said.

    The landfill and transfer station in Dubois would see “a little bit more of a significant rate increase,” Frey said, and the minimum load fee countywide would rise from $5 to $8 for the first 200 pounds of waste.

    The Riverton transfer station would no longer accept waste under the consultant’s recommendation, Frey said, so the site would become a “recycling and waste diversion center only.”

    “They’re going to have a primary landfill operating within nine miles (of town),” Frey said, referring to Sand Draw. “(It) doesn’t make sense … to continue to run that transfer station.”

    h/t Fremont County Solid Waste Disposal District via City of Lander

    The consultant recommendation would save the district $900,000 per year, “which is adequate for our needs moving ahead,” Frey said.

    He shared an estimated timeline for the consultant-recommended changes, with the development of new facilities at Lander, Sand Draw and Dubois taking place this year, followed by the construction of a new transfer station in Lander by 2024, the construction of expansion improvements at Sand Draw by 2025, and the closure of the Riverton transfer station to waste around 2027.

    For more information call the FCSWDD at 332-7040.


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