By Mallory Herrmann

The city’s landfill continues to near capacity, though the city has yet to finalize a replacement solution. The city council’s public works committee heard a presentation from city staff at their Oct. 23 meeting to update them on the progress.

Chris Bussen, solid waste superintendent, said that the landfill is expected to close in late Dec. 2018, based on the airspace volume permitted by Missouri Department of Natural Resources (MDNR). A current contract with Heartland Environmental Services, who is currently operating the landfill, will end once the landfill is closed. Negotiations to have HES build and operate a transfer station to replace the landfill have ceased.

The city is pursuing several avenues, including RFPs (requests for proposal) for public disposal area (PDA) operation and for a transfer station, and reviewing bids for the landfill closure itself. The closure process is expected to begin in the spring but not will be certified as capped until the land has at least 80 percent grass coverage, which can take a couple of growing seasons.

A PDA will allow the city to continue offering at least some of its current programs, such as household hazardous waste, recycling and yard waste. It’s a program that MDNR has approved as an interim measure while more permanent solutions are developed. The city has received approval for grant funds from MARC (Mid-America Regional Council) to help fund the purchase of containers for the PDA. Those funds will be available Jan. 1, 2019, but it the city will still need to find a vendor to haul those filled containers away.

A gap in service is possible, depending on how long it takes to set up the PDA or on the time it takes to finalize a transfer station, a process that could take years to fully construct.

“If they have curbside, obviously that trash continues,” Bussen clarified. “The haulers go wherever they choose to, wherever they sign a contract with.”

But they won’t be coming to Lee’s Summit; our gate will be closed.

All four members of the committee (Councilmembers Rob Binney, Fred DeMoro, Craig Faith and Diane Forte) were present. No action was requested by the committee after the presentation.