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County purchases trailer for recycling operation

Archuleta County is moving closer to opening its single-stream recycling operation at the transfer station on County Road 500 (Trujillo Road) — an opening originally slated for last November.

Earlier this week, the county issued a purchase order in the amount of $24,500 to purchase an 80-cubic-yard trailer to complete the recycling portion of the transfer station ($1,500 less than the list price of the trailer).

The trailer is the second purchased by the county for the purpose — the first being a 100-cubic-yard item that was in substandard condition, deemed insufficient for its intended use and returned to the vendor for a refund of the $18,000 cost.

The trailer the county is currently purchasing was looked at in person by Solid Waste Director Chris Tanner before the decision was made to buy it, County Administrator Greg Schulte reported.

“It is in dramatically better condition,” Schulte said.

Schulte said he anticipates that a county employee will drive to Amarillo, Texas, to pick up the trailer in the next week, versus paying to truck the trailer to Pagosa, using an outside company.

When the recycling facility will be open is still not known, but Schulte indicated it would be as soon as possible.

The trailer, which will be housed under a new roof structure, will allow for single-stream recycling (recyclables will not have to be sorted and deposited into separate bins).

Initially, recycled materials will be shipped to Santa Fe for recycling until the facility currently under construction in Aztec, N.M. is complete. Completion is expected in June.

Although plans are in place for county staff to haul the materials to Santa Fe, Solid Waste does not currently have equipment capable of dumping the trailer.

The likely answer to the problem, Schulte has previously said, is to hire a private contractor to meet Archuleta County staff in Santa Fe to dump the truck.

Other options may be looked at next summer when Archuleta County is able to haul recyclables to Aztec.

Work on the local recycling facility began last spring.

Design revisions, issues with the contractor obtaining the pre-made building structure for the site, procurement of a trailer and the hauling have contributed to the length of the process, but Tanner previously told SUN staff he is pleased with the project and how long it took, citing bid and purchasing requirements required by government.

While the new recycling facility has seen its share of speed bumps, recycling in Pagosa Springs has faced more problems.

Currently, local recyclables are divided by material, then hauled to the Durango recycling facility for processing, leaving Archuleta County fully dependent on the Durango facility to determine what recyclables it will accept at any given time.

In a previous interview with SUN staff, Tanner clarified claims that recyclables are simply hauled to the landfill by explaining that contaminated materials cannot be recycled, such as recently, when cooking and motor oil were dumped into a recycling bin, contaminating everything in the bin.

Also, Tanner said, the local transfer station currently has no storage capacity for recyclables, so if it is a material Durango’s center will not accept, or if the bins are full, materials are taken to the landfill.

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