County continues to grapple with green waste disposal
Plumas officials are searching for long-term and countywide solutions to green waste disposal, but an immediate plan is needed for Quincy.
Sierra Pacific Industries had been the go-to site for local residents, large organizations such as Feather River College and the school district, and landscapers. The mill accepted truckloads of pine needles, leaves and yard clippings free of charge.
That service ended Nov. 24 as SPI prepares to build its new state-of-the-art mill, and cleared the site for construction. Whether SPI will resume accepting yard debris following completion of the new mill is unknown. Plant Manager Chris Skinner said the current plans don’t include that option.
County Public Works Director Bob Perreault discussed the situation with the Plumas County Board of Supervisors during its Dec. 10 meeting.
“The ability to truly solve the green waste problem countywide will take some heavy investment money that we don’t have,” he said.
But there are options throughout the county to dispose of yard waste — some more attractive than others.
For instance, Lake Almanor residents can take yard debris to Collins Pine in Chester and pay $3 to drop off a truckload.
Fees for a similar load taken to one of the transfer sites in Delleker, Graeagle, Greenville, Chester or Quincy could range from $25 to $30.
Perreault said he worried that residents will resort to illegally dumping in the forests, or that others will turn to burning debris where it is allowed, which could impact air quality.
Perreault presented three options: the status quo, and low and high capital investment plans.
The status quo option would continue to rely on transfer stations, with the associated costs mentioned above.
A low-investment option would be to develop centralized burn areas where individuals could take green waste for a cost that would be less than that charged at the transfer station. Staff would burn the waste. But Perreault cautioned that the option could also jeopardize air quality.
Perreault described the high-investment option as one in which green waste collection centers would be developed in the communities. The material could be chipped or composted. This option would also involve developing a new cogeneration facility or reopening an existing facility that is no longer operating, such as the plant in Loyalton or Westwood.
Supervisor Lori Simpson said that other jurisdictions have developed curbside waste recycling, but that would also be costly.
Perreault said he would continue to research the situation during this relatively slack time of the year for green waste disposal.
Both county solid waste franchisees — InterMountain Disposal and Feather River Disposal — will pick up Christmas trees for the first few weeks following the holiday. The trees should be cut into 4-foot lengths.