Last chance for Lyon's last landfill

SMITH VALLEY - One last effort will be made to find a new home for Lyon County's last landfill.

The Smith Valley landfill is the only one remaining in Lyon County. It has been used for nearly 100 years and has been found unsuitable by the Nevada Department of Environmental Protection.

Agreeing the lengthy process should be followed through to its completion, Lyon County commissioners have authorized spending $7,580 for the drilling of three test wells at a site on Bureau of Land Management property in the vicinity of Hudson Way.

Following a nine-month study, the Smith Valley Township Advisory Council said the site as the only one worthy of further study. Advisory Council Chairwoman Paula Rosaschi said the test wells were necessary to determine if the site would meet federal and state environmental requirements.

"I think the process of these drill holes will answer factually some of the questions that may be in front of us," Rosaschi said. "If it shows the property does meet the requirements we will begin with discussions on a possible landfill. If it doesn't, I think all searching for a landfill site should cease. We can't just keep throwing money after this."

Commissioner LeRoy Goodman expressed concern with meeting environmental requirements and the liability risks involved if the site proves acceptable.

"There is one question I want to ask the board: Is Lyon County ready to assume liability of operating a landfill? If we have one problem, this county is bankrupt," he told the board.

Rosaschi said the purpose of drill holes was to allow environmental officials to assess the soil suitability.

"There is minimal risk if the site requirements are met. In a word, they are giving you their blessing before we even pursue this. We have approached this huge, huge situation one step at a time and have had many of our questions answered through the process. This (well drilling) is the next logical step," Rosaschi explained.

Two years ago, commissioners allocated $100,000 to study the feasibility of maintaining a landfill in Smith Valley. According to County Comptroller Rita Evasovic, approximately $40,000 has been spent, but the remainder was not carried forward to subsequent budgets.

The drilling will be funded through the county's contingency fund.

If the new site is found acceptable, the Smith Valley council recommends it be considered for household garbage and construction/demolition debris landfill, unlined, unmonitored, with a recycling program.


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