By Tova Fruchtman: QUAY COUNTY SUN
Editors note: This is the third of a three-part series about Tucumcari’s proposed landfill and the upcoming public hearings on the issue. This story lays out the argument of those who support the landfill. The others explained the public hearings and told the other side of the story. All three can be accessed online at:
City and county officials emphasized cost when discussing building a new Tucumcari landfill.
City Manager Richard Primrose, who said the city has been working on a plan for a new landfill since before he started with the city five years ago, said not having a landfill would affect more people than those within the city limits.
“If we don’t have a landfill, and we have to put in a transfer station, it would cost not only the city of Tucumcari but the county and Santa Rosa more money,” he said.
Right now Logan, San Jon, Conchas, Quay county, Santa Rosa, and the city of Tucumcari all use the Tucumcari landfill, Primrose said.
“What’s really important to me is the cost. When you start transferring over 80 miles it drives the cost of solid waste up,” he said.
Although Primrose was not around when they chose it, he said the city looked at other sites but chose this site because of its proximity to the city.
They hired Engineers Inc. to run experiments to test whether the landfill will affect the ground water.
“All of the information says that it is a legitimate site. We’ve had the Solid Waste Bureau, our engineer, and another engineer look at the data,” Primrose said.
Fred Curnutt, the division leader at Engineers Inc. in charge of the project, said the site meets all state regulations for building a landfill.
He said they checked the geology at the site to make sure the ground water would not be effected by the landfill. Clay layers under the site will help protect the water he said.
Environmental Department regulations require the first sight of ground water to be at least 100 feet below the bottom of the landfill. Curnutt said the water levels were about 107 feet below, according to their calculations.
“We’re taking every precaution possible to prevent ground water contamination,” he said.
He said the city has also taken precautions to try and prevent blowing trash by building wind fences.
County commissioners expressed their support for the landfill at a recent meeting, and County Manager Terry Turner and Road Superintendent Larry Moore will speak on behalf of the city during the hearing.
“The reason I think it’s important to have the landfill here in Tucumcari is with the price of fuel at $2-plus a gallon, we’d have to absorb the cost,” Turner said. “We’d all be impacted
… I most definitely support it from a financial perspective.”
Turner said the county would also help defer the costs of building the landfill by allowing the use of county dump trucks to help remove the dirt.
The city hopes to have a landfill permit by August. Primrose said the city has put in large amounts of money and work to make this a reality.
The public hearing about the landfill that will influence whether it is built will begin at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday at Tucumcari Convention Center.