One week after commissioners voted 3-2 to close the Northern Landfill in Westminster to residential self-haulers, the board unanimously voted to reopen it, though with reduced hours and some new practices in place.
The landfill will reopen to residents Monday. Residents dropping off waste can come between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 12 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Thursday and Friday, or all day Saturday. Recycling and yard waste from residents can be disposed of all day Monday through Saturday.
Residents outside the county will not be permitted to use the landfill, and to police this, customers will be required to show a driver’s license so staff can verify residency.
The landfill was closed to residents on April 13 and was scheduled to remain closed until April 27 after initially considering closing it for a month. But the public weighed in and the commissioners touched on the issue again Tuesday at the beginning of a budget work session.
“We’ve gotten some tremendous ideas from folks across the county on what we can do to get the landfill up and running 100%," Commissioner Stephen Wantz said Tuesday, then asking for the topic to be put first on the agenda Thursday.
Jeff Castonguay, director of Public Works, presented the commissioners with options on how to proceed with the landfill at Thursday’s board meeting.
Commissioner Ed Rothstein, R-District 5, made the motion to reopen the landfill with restricted hours, based on a hybrid of Castonguay’s recommendations.
Rothstein, along with Commissioner Eric Bouchat, R-District 4, voted against closing the landfill in the first place, on April 9.
In the days since the landfill was closed to residents, Castonguay said county staff began making changes to better protect themselves and residents.
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They installed Plexiglas barriers at inbound and outbound stations, obtained face masks for weigh masters, installed a system to scan driver’s licenses, and got bullhorns for staff to use when people get too close to each other, he said.
“We have some bullhorns to ask people to politely keep themselves separated,” Castonguay said.
He said some people were “socializing” and “bunching up” at the drop-off and yard waste areas. To further prevent this, traffic barriers will be installed.
Castonguay noted commercial haulers typically come between 7 and 8 a.m., then return around noon, so lines may be shorter if residents come after 8 but before noon.
There will be signage that indicates the landfill is for county residents only.
Rothstein urged staff to continue pushing out messaging online and through social media.
“That information is very important to encourage those non-residents, don’t come out here because you’re going to be turned away and it’s going to cause more frustration than anything else,” he said.