Cell number five will cover five acres of land and will be 50 feet deep

by: JASON CHANEY - Crook County Landfill Manager Leroy Gray stands alongside cell five, which is currently under construction.

Within the next few years, Crook County Landfill is going to need a fifth cell to keep up with customer demand.

In order to make that happen, they developed a unique contract that enabled them to begin work on the project before the facility is left without enough space to dump the refuse collected throughout the community.

Right now, cell five is still under construction, and located in a portion of the landfill property that is still closed to the public. The hole, when completed, will cover five acres of land and reach a depth of 50 feet.

“It will go up another probably 50 feet high above ground level when it’s complete (full),” said Landfill Manager Leroy Gray.

The contract that enabled construction of the new cell was designed to meet two county needs through one single project.

“We issued the construction contract about a year and a half ago,” Gray said. “It started out with the road department needing rock. We obviously have a lot of rock up here with all of the basalt, so we put our heads together to figure out how we could dig that without spending a lot of money. We need a new cell, they need rock.”

The county ended up awarding a contract to Taylor SMAF, who is now carrying out the excavation process.

“The county road department agreed to buy X amount of rock and the balance of the rock was in lieu of payment,” Gray said. “There has not been any contract like it that we could use for a template. We had to scratch our heads and try different things.”

The excavation will result in about 200,000 yards of rock of which 110,000 yards will go to the county road department.

The contract made it possible for the county to add the cell when they would have otherwise lacked the financial resources to build it. Not only would excavation of the cell have created a substantial expense for the county, they would have faced another cost when adding on to the facility.

“You have to put a geotech liner in it – basically a rubber liner to make sure nothing gets down through to the groundwater,” Gray said. “Then, you put the monitoring systems underneath to make sure it doesn’t leak.”

The liner installed for cell four cost the county about $2.5 million.

Without the contact, the county would eventually be forced to take on debt to keep the landfill open for business.

“We would have ended up having to borrow money and dig the cell, then sell the rock ourselves,” Gray said.

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