Scottsbluff to pursue outside vendor for landfill

Scottsbluff Mayor Ray Gonzales wears a mask during the Monday, May 18, meeting. 

In the interest of extending the life of the Gering landfill, the City of Scottsbluff will continue to negotiate a contract with a private entity for solid waste disposal on a temporary basis.

Gering and Scottsbluff are in the process of siting and building a new regional landfill, however, with the life expectancy of the current landfill projected to end in 2026, Scottsbluff has been exploring options for other options for its trash disposal. Proposals were presented to the city council Monday night from Waste Connections and Torrington Disposal Services to take on the city’s trash on a temporary basis while the regional project is in the works.

“My intention would be to come back to you in the next meeting with a recommendation to you on the landfill, and just move our waste from the public facility to a private facility in the interest of retaining or adding years to the Gering landfill’s useful life,” interim city manager Rick Kuckkahn said. “It’s going to take 8 to 10 years if we’re lucky to get a new landfill in place. I don’t know that the city wants to bail out of the agreement with Gering. We’ve got a half-million dollars in the account now, and certainly if what I’m seeing is correct and comes to fruition, we would stand to save significantly on our tipping fees if we did build a new landfill.”

Kuckkahn said there has been progress made in locating a site for the regional landfill by engineering contractor TriHydro.

“There is a site they’re looking at northwest of Scottsbluff, and it’s well within the perimeter of the number of miles that we’re finding acceptable,” Kuckkahn said. “You’re talking about a 15-20 mile range. They’re doing some due diligence on the site now. They had to get in and do the wildlife study first because of endangered species, and they had to get that done before the end of May, otherwise it would take another year to get in and do this wildlife study.”

Scottsbluff has also asked an engineer to provide a second opinion on TriHydro’s proposals in the interest of protecting what will be a large investment.

“We’re doing that in a friendly way, and we’ve talked to Gering about that,” he said. “It’s just like a doctor to give us a second opinion and see where we’re at and see if these numbers are realistic. We want to be very confident. When you’re talking about an $8.5 million investment, spending $5,000 to get a second opinion is a pretty inexpensive way to make sure we’re headed in the right direction.

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Mark McCarthy is a reporter with the Star-Herald and oversees the Gering Courier as editor. He can be reached at 308-632-9049 or via email at

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