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Gering discusses ‘wall’ of trash
June 27, 2013 Jerry Purvis   

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Gering City Council members met in hastily-arranged special session Monday before their regular meeting to discuss what to do about the ever-rising wall of trash at the Gering landfill.
Since the beginning of 2013, the city has added three extra layers of trash on top of the east side of the landfill while waiting for the completion of cell six.

Dave Lashley, who lives across the street from the landfill, addressed the council on May13. He said the layers of trash were continuing to pile up, blocking the view of the Monument from his house and lowering the value of his property.

At the time, Lashley said he was assured when he bought the property two years prior that the height of the landfill wouldn’t get any higher. He said that if he had to obey height restriction on his house to protect the view of the Monument, the city should also have to obey those restrictions.

On Monday night, about 20 people, mostly residents from the surrounding area, also voiced their opposition to the continued piling up of trash at the landfill.

Many people had assumed the new layers of trash in cell five would be moved into the new cell six, once it’s completed. But Rick Hurt, the city’s director of environmental services, said it’s not that easy. He said it could cost as much as a half million dollars to move the trash into the new cell. That would also reduce the expected lifespan of the new cell.

Hurt added the current height of the landfill is within the allowed design permit issued by the Nebraska Department of Environmental Quality.
Gering Mayor Ed Mayo said he reviewed council meeting minutes going back to the early 1990s and couldn’t find any discussion of specific height restrictions for the landfill.

As the 45-minute meeting wrapped up, council member Justin Allred said the new trash bales stacked on the landfill were becoming an “eyesore.” Fellow council member Jill McFarland agreed, saying the council needed to “find a way to fix it.”

The issue was sent to the Public Works Committee, which will meet on July 2. It will give Hurt time to research alternatives and what costs would be involved. Primarily, the council said it wants a solution that’s acceptable to both the city and the unhappy neighbors.

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