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The town of Cheyanne, Wyoming, has announced plans to expand the Happy Jack landfill by adding eight new cells. As reported by Wyoming News Now, the project is designed to extend the landfill over a series of years, with the grand design estimating the landfill life to be over 45 years.

The landfill has been around since the 1960s, and the new cells will allow more waste to be stored on site over a longer period. With each cell, there can be an elevation drop of eighty feet up and down.

Director of Public Works Vicki Nemecek said about 2,000,000 cubic meters of earth and rock have been excavated.

Two cells have already been excavated, and the third will be partially excavated so that dirt from the third cell can fill one and two once they are full of trash. New cells will need to be excavated every 5 to 8 years, according to Nemecek. The current phase of the expansion is costing taxpayers $ 6 million for excavation and an additional $ 500,000 for coating.

Nemecek said Wyoming News Now that although the project is expensive, it is cheaper than hauling the waste to landfills in Colorado with an annual dumping fee of $ 1.2 million. She adds, because the project will last 45-50 years, the expansion is more economical.

“You have to have the income to build this next cell. So, we demand, and state law allows, that the city control waste within the city limits so that we can not only collect but also dispose of your waste, ”Nemecek said.

The cell coating process involves layering soil, bentonite, geosynthetic coating and a final layer of sand to seal off the waste. The process ensures that the contamination of the waste does not seep into the groundwater.

Nemecek adds that the expansion has an eco-friendly design. The landfill is surrounded by a 40 foot high litter fence, which contains loose litter on windy days. Three full-time waste pickers will also work around the clock to keep the landfill and surrounding areas clean.

“You might not realize it, you might not even think about it, but without landfill you have to think about other options to dispose of your waste. So when you’ve got that Kleenex, or you’ve got last night’s dinner waste that you have to throw in the trash, realize we’ve got a place where you can get rid of it all for the next fifty years, ”he said. declared Nemecek.

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