Meeting Minutes

(Note:  Meeting minutes are always one month behind.  Only approved minutes are published)

Approved at the February 24, 2015 meeting. 

Flathead County Solid Waste District
Board of Directors Meeting
January 27, 2015 - 3:00 p.m.
Landfill Office

  • Roll Call

Board Members present:  Greg Acton, Chairman; Wayne Miller, Vice Chair; John Helton, Member at Large; Hank Olson, City of Kalispell; Gary Krueger, County Commissioner; Susan Nicosia, City of Columbia Falls and Alan Ruby, Member at Large. 

District Staff present:  Public Works Director Dave Prunty, Operations Manager, Jim Chilton and Recording Secretary, Deborah Morine. 

Attendees: Allison Batch, Mayre Flowers and Scott Mason.

  • Introductory Remarks from Chairman

Greg Acton thanked everyone for attending and noted that everyone is present.

  • Comments from public

There were no comments.

  • Program Updates from Non-Profits

Mayre Flowers introduced Allison Batch who will be conducting school outreach and recycling education for the WasteNot Project this year. 

Mayre has communicated with the new manager of Pacific Steel and Recycling and is pleased to report they intend to bring electronic waste recycling back.  She said the need for planning an e-waste event is most likely unnecessary at this time.   

She commented that it’s difficult to educate the public when the three recycling centers accept different variables of plastics (#1 &2) which send a mixed message and is difficult to teach the public to sort correctly. 

She continued to report that Flathead Valley Community College is hosting the second annual Makers Fair at which her organization will have a booth which focuses on “Fix it Local”.  

Mayre also stated she is putting together posters to display in pharmacies letting people know how to dispose of unwanted medications.  

There were discussions and comments regarding which plastics were/are recyclable and prohibited cardboards etc. Also talked about were costs of education, media materials and financial assistance. 

  • Approval of the Board Meeting Minutes for December 16, 2014  – Action Required

    Susan Nicosia moved to adopt the minutes of December 16, 2014.  Wayne Miller seconded.     Motion passed.

  • Action Agenda
    • Election of Chair and Vice-Chair for 2015 – Action Required

      The District’s By-Laws require the election of a Chair and Vice-Chair in January or February each year. 

Susan Nicosia nominated Greg Acton as Chair and Alan Ruby as Vice-Chair for 2015.  Wayne Miller moved to close the nominations.  John Helton seconded.  Motion passed.

  • Director’s Report
    • Groundwater Update from Hydrometrics, Inc. 

Scott Mason from Hydrometrics, our hydrogeological consulting firm, is at the meeting to update the Board on corrective actions work regarding the groundwater contamination from the old unlined portion of the landfill. 

Scott Mason updated the Board regarding the Leachate (inner) tank leak that had been detected in December 2014.  The liquid had been tested and meets drinking water standards, but has a very bad odor and is being pumped and trucked to the Columbia Falls sewer plant for disposal.  The tank will be removed and a new (possibly larger) one will be installed this summer.  

Scott also updated the Board regarding the increase in groundwater contamination of tetrachloroethene (PCE) in MW 3, 6 and 6D on the landfills eastern perimeter.  The increase began in 2011 after the significant snow volume that winter.  Above average precipitation for four of the last five years is likely a major contributing factor for this trend.  The Department of Environmental Quality was notified when the original spike was detected and has been updated throughout the years.  Discussions included monitoring wells and locations as well as gradient flow of shallow and deep aquifers.  Work will be occurring in the coming fiscal year to plan any modifications to the corrective actions currently installed at the landfill.

    • Strategic Plan DRAFT Revision – Chapter 5 

CH2MHill provided a draft copy of the revisions for Chapter 5 for the District’s Strategic Plan.  Staff is reviewing the document and will provide comments back to the consultants.  Comments from Board members are definitely welcome and staff will forward them on for review.  We will provide a final draft at the February meeting for the Board to review.  If so desired we can have the consultants give a presentation to the Board.  However, if we can provide written comments we can eliminate the expense for them to travel to the valley for the presentation.

    • Facility Engineering Services Request for Proposals 

The District’s contract with SWT Engineering ends in April, 2015.  Staff has begun to prepare the Request for Proposals (RFP) to solicit qualified firms for our general engineering services contract.  The contract provides the main engineering services for our Landfill and Container Sites.  Liner and closure design, planning, quality control assurance services, planning etc. are main facets of the work.  We’ll provide about three to four weeks for the responses and then have a review committee review and rank the firms.  A recommendation will be brought back to the Board for final action. 

Wayne Miller noted that the Bigfork container site is in the wrong location on the map provided in the draft document. 

    • Construction of the Phase IV B Groundwater Protection System 

The project has been closed out with final retention payment made to Sandry Construction.  All needed documents were provided by them to assure payment to their subcontractors has been made.  Their statements regarding the filing of a claim have been rescinded.  Final expense for Sandry’s services totaled $1,828,978.32 which is $39,182 under the contract amount of $1,868,160. 

Engineering work is still ongoing preparing the Construction Quality Assurance document that we submit to MT DEQ for approvals to start operations on the liner.  We plan on utilizing the liner in the spring when conditions allow traffic on the top of the protective cover soil.  This gives us as much time as we have ever had to deploy the first lift of refuse that helps minimize our leachate production.  SWT said they are very close to completing the document to transmit to DEQ.

    • Preparation of Fiscal 2015-16 Budgets 

The County has started the budgeting process for the coming fiscal year.  Staff is working on the Capital Improvement Plan and will shortly begin work on the expenditures budgets for both solid waste and junk vehicle.  We have yet to hear from the MT Dept of Transportation on the Lakeside Container Site but staff will assume we’ll have a land purchase for that project.  We also will have to make assumptions on the purchase of the remaining homes for the landfill expansion.  However, we hope to fund the land purchase trust with sufficient money to complete the purchases.

    • E-Waste Event Discussion 

Previously, the District held annual one day e-waste events at Valley Recycling with partners including Valley Recycling, WasteNot, Citizens for a Better Flathead and MT DEQ.  After Pacific Recycling began accepting e-waste regularly we stopped our annual event.  Unfortunately, we recently learned that Pacific stopped accepting the material.  Our one day events were successful but the volume was most likely curbed by the requirement that citizens pay for some of the cost for recycling of their items. 

Bozeman/Gallatin County held events some years ago where they covered the costs of the recycling.  Eventually, they had to back off from that practice due to cost.  Staff doesn’t know what their practice is currently. 

There is significant planning needed for an event.  In the past the event was held in late spring to early summer.  There probably is time to organize an event if so desired but much would rest on the ability to contract with the recycling firm who would take the material. 

  As Mayre Flowers update specifies earlier, there is no need for discussion at this time.

    • Refuse Operations 

Operations proceeded well for the month.  Tonnage/Volumes are shown below:


                           Total MSW to landfill                                             7,197.14

                            Total Appliances Collected                                    329

                            Junk Vehicles Collected                                         1

                            Truck Trips to Container Sites                                413

                            Refuse tons/trip                                                       5.69 

The District landfilled 7.8% more waste in December, 2014 as compared to December, 2013 and our refuse trucks hauled 6.1% more waste comparing the same time frame. 

The landfill tonnage increase 0.8% for calendar year 2014 compared to 2013 and our trucks increased 3.4% for the calendar year also. 

Gate revenue for fiscal year 2015 was projected at $900,000.  Through December we received $617,246.88 or 68.6% of revenue through 50% of the fiscal year.   

Dave updated the Board regarding the timeline for purchasing the land for the new Bigfork site.  He stated he is hopeful the purchase should go through around mid-February.  

Jim stated the Bigfork Elves have heretofore been given a fee waiver for holiday cleanup which technically does not fall under the “community clean-up” fee exemption of Resolution 2007-25.  It was the opinion of the Board that the Bigfork Elves should not have the gate fee waived for their Christmas clean-up project.   

Jim also stated the methane wells which contain the highest levels of H2S have had “jumper lines” installed and the methane wells on the working face have had flashing beacons installed for visual reference. 

  Jim will get bids for the appliance/metals pile crush next month.

    • March Meeting of Board of Directors 

The March meeting is usually moved ahead one week due to the Public Works Director attending an annual conference for Road Supervisors.  This year that conference was moved up a week and it doesn’t conflict with our regular March meeting date of March 24.  However, Dave has a scheduled family vacation for this week and would like to still move the meeting forward to Tuesday, March 17 at 3 p.m. 

The Board agrees this will not conflict with the majority of peoples schedules and asked Dave to add it to the action agenda next month.

    • Budget and Financials 

Dave updated the Board.

  • Comments from Board Members

John Helton stated he has been asked by a few people “what happened to the recycle container in Coram”.  

Dave Prunty noted since the first of the year, we’ve had less pulls than anticipated on the mixed recyclers and a couple more pulls than anticipated of cardboard.   

Susan Nicosia queried the District’s roll in educating the public regarding recycling. Perhaps the WasteNot project can come up with recycling posters, maybe put sticker on pizza boxes that state “cannot be recycled if messy”.  She stated recycling in this valley is problematic i.e., not allowing dirty pizza boxes, allowing this plastic and not that plastic, etc. 

Wayne Miller stated someone needs to educate the public regarding recycling; we have to take the initiative.  

Board comments noted that the WasteNot Project submits a work plan with their grant application and is therefore performance based. 

Greg Acton stated the site attendants are on the front line for educating the public.  

  • Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 5:22 p.m.