Full text of "Forward"
Montana State Library
A Division of Department of
Health and Environmental
a bi-monthly publication
August 1975 Vol.1 IMo. 2
A Small Town's Search
For The Right Solution
Paying to dispose of trash is an unwelcome idea when people
have been dumping it over a bank for free over 75 years. Unfor-
tunately, sometimes change is difficult.
In May 1972, the solid waste disposal situation in the state
was reviewed at a Montana State Board of Health meeting. With all
communities of over 2,500 people complying with the regulations
for refuse disposal sites, it was decided to ask all communities of
greater than 1,000 people to bring their operations into compliance
by July 1, 1973. By that date all but five of these towns were in
compliance. Philipsburg was one of these.
The Philipsburg City Council didn't see how it could afford
to operate a sanitary landfill when comparing that cost to that of
having its open burning dump. To evenly distribute the associated
costs, the Council approached the Granite County Commissioners
about setting up a refuse disposal district to include the surround-
ing rural residents who were also using the site. The Commission-
ers began the preliminary steps required to form such a district.
However, public opinion was opposed to the idea and the
district was voted down. Philipsburg was then forced to go it
alone. After several more City Council and public meetings, an
impasse was reached. It was decided to let the courts determine
whether or not the town could retain the open dump.
On October 24, 1974, a show cause hearing was held in
Philipsburg before the district judge. The judge ruled that Philips-
burg must comply with state law in its operation of a refuse dispos-
By November 19, the town had converted its dump to a land-
fill operation. There is a caretaker on duty during the restricted
hours of operation and the refuse is covered at the end of each op-
erating day by the city crew using a rubber tired loader/backhoe.
This is not the end of the story. Philipsburg and Drummond
(also in Granite County) city officials as well as Granite County
Commissioners are still investigating possible solutions to their solid
waste disposal problems. They are considering another attempt at
creating a countywide refuse district.
One of the possible solutions is hauling the garbage to Mis-
soula (50 miles from Drummond). City Disposal Co. of Missoula
has suggested a plan to the two communities for pickup of garbage
from 40 cubic yard containers to be hauled to the firm's landfill
dump northwest of Missoula.
If the county wide district is not formed, the city of Drum-
mond may accept this solution to its local problem as the most eco-
Flrnn Chosen For Resource
The firm of Henningson, Durham & Richardson (HDR) has
been selected to conduct the year-long study of Montana's resource
recovery potential. The firm which offers engineering, architectural
and planning services on a world wide basis is headquartered in
Omaha, Nebraska with offices in 14 locations throughout the
United States including Helena. It has grown from a small Midwest
engineering firm which started in 1917 to one employing more than
500 experienced highly qualified engineers, architects, planners and
technicians to handle a project from conception to successful
The company has extensive background in solid waste man-
agement studies and in the design of solid waste handling and proc-
essing facilities. The following is some of the highlights of that
- Study and Investigation of Solid Waste Control - A state-
wide management study completed for the State of Minnesota.
- Disposal and Reuse of Abandoned and Retired Automobiles -
A state-wide study for the State of Minnesota which culminated in
legislation and an ongoing program for collection, transportation
and recycling of old vehicle hulks.
- Study, design and construction of the 200 ton-per-day solid
waste supplemental fuel plant for the City of Ames, Iowa. This
plant was described in Power magazine as "probably the most ad-
vanced utility system of its type in operation or under construction".
The plant, which processes raw refuse, produces a high-quality solid
waste fuel and recovers ferrous and other metals, was completed in
June. It is the first completed resource recovery facility of its type
in the United States.
- Study and design of a 2,000 ton-per-day solid waste process-
ing plant for the City of Dallas, Texas. The processed refuse will
either be directly fired to produce steam for a major industry or
will be pyrolyzed to produce a low BTU gas which can be used by
a combination of commercial, industrial or utility concerns. The
design of this "frontend" facility is currently 50% complete.
- The ongoing Hennepin County (Minneapolis Area) Solid
Waste Energy and Materials Recovery Study. This study is in its
final stage and will recommend use of processed solid waste as an
energy source in the inner city area for direct firing to produce
steam for commercial and industrial heating and cooling. Initial
plant size will be up to 2,000 tons-per-day of solid waste to pro-
duce 4000,000 pph of steam. Ferrous and other metals will also
- Other ongoing energy and resource recovery projects in
Dubuque, Iowa; Springfield, Missouri; Norfolk, Virginia; Garland
and Richardson, Texas; Omaha, Nebraska; and St, Cloud, St. Paul
and Rochester, Minnesota.
Tasks included under the Montana study include: Assem-
bling available population and employment data; determining
present waste generation and project future quantities; identifying
and evaluating special potentially recoverable wastes; identifying
and evaluating potential markets for utilizing solid waste as an
energy source; identifying and evaluating potential markets for raw
or recoverable waste components; and evaluating applicable alter-
native technologies for energy and materials recovery.
Personnel with HDR who will be directly involved with the
study are Warren G. Heen, P.E., project manager; Frank Borchardt,
P.E., principal in charge; and Barry Damschen, project engineer.
Heen is Assistant Vice President of the company and Man-
ager of the Helena office. Borchardt was Regional Engineer for the
Montana State Department of Health at Billings before joining
HDR in 1968. He was Project Manager of HDR's North Central
Texas solid waste management study and the Dubuque, Iowa and
Springfield, Missouri, energy and resources recovery studies.
Damschen is a native of Montana and joined HDR following gradu-
uation from M.S.U. in 1972. He has been continuously involved
in solid waste energy and materials recovery projects. His recently
completed assignment as Project Engineer for the Springfield,
Missouri Study and his current involvement in the St. Cloud and
Rochester, Minnesota Studies are testimony of his emergence as a
capable and knowledgeable engineer in this new field.
The philosophy and approach of HDR was presented in its
introduction of the firm's proposal to the Solid Waste Management
Bureau. It states in part:
"In recent years there has been a dramatic increase of interest
in the concept of resource recovery from domestic solid wastes.
This interest had been stimulated by widespread shortages of en-
ergy and materials and a realization that such resources are not
unlimited in the United States or in the world.
"These shortages have resulted in significant increases in the
prices of energy and materials. Thus, recovery of energy and sec-
ondary materials from solid wastes has become not just an 'ideal'
but a realistic economic alternative to former disposal oriented
"It should be emphasized that there is no one best technical
approach to resource recovery from solid wastes. Likewise re-
source recovery is not always a feasible alternative for solid wastes
management. Each area or region is different in many respects:
characteristics and quantities of refuse generated, population den-
sity and distribution, existing solid waste management practices,
environmental considerations, existing or potential energy users,
availability of markets for recovered materials, and so on. Thus,
each area requires a feasibility study as proposed for the State of
EPA Finds BTU's !n Trash
The overall heat content of a typical pound of refuse, includ-
ing the moisture, ash, and metal fractions as well as the combustible
material would be 5,260 BTU (British Thermal Units) per pound
or slightly over 1 0.5 million BTU per ton, according to a study by
the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Analysing the composition of typical municipal refuse, the
EPA found that paper products accounted for 53 percent of the
weight; food wastes such as meat scraps and vegetable food waste
accounted for 8 percent; glass comprised another 8 percent; ferrous
and nonferrous metals made up 7 percent; and the remaining 24
percent consisted of grass clippings, rags, leather goods, and various
Stated another way, the EPA study showed that 52.7 percent
of the solid waste consisted of volatile matter; 7.3 percent was fixed
carbon, 20 percent was ash and metals; and the final 20 percent was
moisture. The combustible portion of the waste (volatile matter
and fixed carbon), which made up 60 percent of the total weight,
had a heat content of 8,766 BTU per pound.
This heat content is most nearly comparable to that of low-
rank lignites which have a heat content of slightly less than 1 2 mil-
lion BTU per ton. The refuse, however, has a lower moisture level
(20 percent) compared with the average of 50 percent found in a
A desirable quality of solid waste is its low sulfur content,
usually less than 0.12 percent by weight. A heat content of 5,260
BTU per pound and a sulfur level of 0.1 2 percent translates into
0.23 pound of sulfur per million. This means that refuse used as a
fuel in new or modified steam plants would meet the federal emis-
sion standards for these plants. These standards essentially call for
the use of coal with a sulfur content of 0.6 pound per million BTU.
On an equivalent heat basis, the burning of refuse would be equiv-
alent to burning bituminous coal with a sulfur content of 0.3
Stillwater County Abandons
Stillwater County is the first Montana County to abandon its
sanitary landfill and develop a countrywide collection system to
transport its solid waste to Billings for disposal.
According to a Eleven County Solid Waste Study by Central
Montana Development Federation, many counties of sparse popu-
lation cannot afford the cost of available land for disposal sites and
the expense of maintenance equipment necessary to maintain ade-
quate sanitary landfills.
Consequently, it was proposed that the eleven counties team
up to develop a single system for collection. Although Stillwater
County is the only one which accepted the invitation to participate
in the multi-county collection system, county officials have indicat-
ed great satisfaction with the Eleven County Study. The proposal
for a single solid waste district received only minor opposition in
public hearings conducted in Stillwater County.
The new system will be operated by placing four and six-
cubic yard green boxes throughout the county within one mile of
50% of the county residents and within five miles of 90% of Still-
water's population. A 30 yard packer will combine the contents
of these boxes and deliver it to a 75 yard compactor trailer in
The cost per household in the county for the pickup services
will be approximately $24.00 per year. The total budget is esti-
mated at $42,000 per year including equipment costs.
Other counties in the Eleven County Study include: Yellow-
stone, Carbon, Big Horn, Sweet Grass, Golden Valley, Musselshell,
Wheatland, Judith Basin, Fergus and Petroleum.
Junk Yard Gets Wrong Car
Missoulian Ralph Kuhns came home from work one day to
find his 1960 white Falcon station wagon missing.
Assuming the car was stolen, he promptly reported it to the
police. Two days later, Kuhns was informed his car had fallen vic-
tim to the Missoula County junk car program.
A neighbor of Kuhn's had requested that her white Falcon
sedan be hauled away by county junk car crews. But, before the
county could pick the car up, she gave it away. When the county
truck came, the crew assumed Kuhn's car was the junker, hauled
it away and smashed it into a lump of metal.
"It was our second car," Kuhns said. "It was in good con-
dition. I was replacing a switch on it at the time so it wasn't run-
Kuhns said the county was very apologetic and reimbursed
him $125 for the mistake. He simply thinks it was a funny inci-
\^ - -
General and specific requirements for construction and oper-
ation of landfills are proposed in one regulation by the Solid Waste
Division of the Kentucky Department of Natural Resources and
Environmental Protection. Four regulations were consolidated in-
to one new one.
The regulation which will apply to new and existing sites, al-
lows six months for landfills already having permits to meet changed
construction specifications and 90 days to comply with changed
Permit applicants must demonstrate financial responsibility
for the landfill's operation by posting bond with the state treasurer.
There are nine specific standards which constitute a basis for per-
In addition, the division may now require persons requesting
permit renewal to submit additional information to determine if a
landfill is suitable for continued operation.
The requirements for closing a landfill provide that an inspec-
tion be made before earth moving equipment is removed from the
site. Permit holders must also notify the department 30 days be-
State Department of Health
and Environmental Sciences
Helena, Montana 59601
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