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Cooperating On Apex Landfill

For many years, the Apex landfill has been a problem in Jefferson County. If public officials can help correct it — at no cost to taxpayers — they should be willing to make the attempt.

First, however, there needs to be trust between the public and the landfill’s operator. It will take some time for that to occur, if it can at all.

That was made clear last week during a Jefferson County commissioners meeting. In attendance was Anthony Rizzo, chief operating officer of Interstate Waste Services Inc. In January, the firm took over operation of the Jefferson County landfill.

Rizzo’s mission was an attempt to form something of a public-private partnership. He told commissioners his firm is attempting to improve the landfill, and is interested in possibly disposing of some leachate by sending it to a new wastewater treatment facility being constructed at Amsterdam. Leachate is water that becomes contaminated by percolating through a landfill.

IWS officials “wanted to see if there was a way we could combine our efforts,” Rizzo explained to commissioners.

That probably is not feasible with the treatment plant now under construction, he was told. Altering it at this stage in the work would not be practical.

It may be possible to work out something regarding treatment of the leachate at a later date, Commissioner Dave Maple said. “But I will tell you the relationship between your company and Jefferson County has not been a good one,” he added. “I’d really have to understand how this could benefit Jefferson County.”

Precisely. Taxpayers cannot be in the business of bailing out private companies, even if the need for help results from action or lack of it by a previous owner.

IWS should continue attempting to improve the Apex landfill. Only after evidence of a sincere effort to that end is apparent should commissioners discuss cooperation to make things even better.

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