Clay County Landfill Issued 9 Violations, Now Working To Reverse Some They Disagree With

By Quinn O’Hara

On December 19th, 2023, the Clay County Landfill was inspected by the KDHE. The landfill received 9 violations during that visit.

Rhonda Carroll, the Clay County Landfill’s Director, disagrees with some of those violations.

KDHE issued violations to the landfill for:

· Food found in a freezer discarded at the landfill:

· Carroll says landfill patrons are instructed by landfill employees to remove all items from refrigerators, freezers, and other appliances before dumping at the landfill. Carroll says the KDHE inspector found food items in a freezer in the landfill that should have been removed prior to dumping.

· Missing padlocks on water monitoring wells:

· Carroll says the Clay County Landfill recently switched companies who oversee monitoring wells at the landfill for harmful substances, such as arsenic. She says the previous company failed to return the keys to the padlocks on the monitoring wells, forcing the new management company to cut the padlocks off to gain access. Carroll says she had received the new padlocks but did not put them on the wells in time, resulting in a violation.

· Improper use of 250-gallon totes:

· Carroll says the landfill uses the totes for a wide variety of purposes and holds many of them at any given time. Carroll says the KDHE inspector issued the landfill multiple violations in relation to the landfill reusing the totes under recycling. Carroll says they use the totes to ship off and hold electronic waste, hold oil filters, among other things.

· Improper disposal of mattresses received during the 2023 Fall City Clean up:

· Carroll says it takes a team of 4 or more workers to properly load old mattresses into a semi to be hauled off for proper disposal. The 2023 Fall Clay Center City Cleanup, which took place this past October, collected 86 mattresses, according to a previous report by Daton Hess given after the efforts were completed. Carroll says those mattresses and others received from the Midwest Whitetail Adventures company around the same time caused many mattresses to build up. She says because of employee sick days and holidays, the landfill did not have the ability to send them off. Carroll says she alerted KDHE of the issue and was told the department would work with the landfill to fix the issue. Carroll says she was then instructed by KDHE to send the department an email informing the department of the issue, which she says she did on October 26th. She says the landfill received a violation despite this communication. Carroll further noted that the Clay County Landfill shipped off 875 mattresses in 2023.

· Special waste that wasn’t buried properly or in a timely manner:

· KDHE defines special waste as “Friable or Non-Friable Asbestos shingles, tile, siding, pipe wrap and ceilings scrapings, powder coat paint, contaminated soils and any other items that require special waste handling.” Carroll says the landfill disposes of their special waste in a separate area away from the main hole for the safety of workers and patrons. Carroll says the landfill received a load of used medical needles, which she had put with the special waste to avoid patrons and employees potentially stepping on them in the main hole. She says the landfill received a violation for not disposing of the needles in the main hole in a timely manner.

· Improper dumping a solid waste and a violation of a related permit:

· Carroll says the landfill had received a large load of rotten grain and flour, which the landfill intended to dump in their compost pile, instead of the main landfill hole. Carroll says this requires a compost permit, which she says the landfill acquired in 2021. Carroll says the inspector issued a violation for the improper disposal of the rotten grain and flour, and an additional related violation for failing to possess the associated permit.

· Litter on landfill grounds not picked up in a timely manner:

· Carroll says the inspector issued a violation for litter on landfill grounds that was not properly disposed of in a timely manner.

Carroll has worked with the KDHE and reversed the decision on the violations related to the 250-gallon totes. She says she will continue to fight the violations related to the mattresses, special waste, and livestock feed because of the extenuating circumstances listed above in relation to those violations. Carroll says she will not fight the violations related to the food found in the freezer and missing pond padlocks. Carroll says she will meet with the KDHE on February 12th to further discuss these violations.

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