Where Does Your Garbage Go?

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By Joey Martin

Cassia County, Idaho ( KMVT-TV / KSVT-TV ) Ever wonder what happens to your garbage once it leaves your curb side?

No matter who hauls it away, it all ends up in one location.

Every day, literally tons of garbage from seven southern Idaho counties makes its way to the Milner Butte Landfill just east of Burley.

"We average about 700 tons coming from the seven counties. It actually equates to about 28 trailers coming here daily," explains Josh Bartlome, Executive Director of SISW.

Every day, drivers from around southern Idaho make their pickups from 15 transfer stations across the region.

Then it's off to the Milner Butte Landfill in Cassia County.

Once at the site, the first step is to be weighed.

"When the trucks leave the transfer stations, they pull onto the scales in order to know how much waste is coming from each county. We weigh them here and we weigh them when they leave," says Nate Francisco, environmental specialist.

The purpose of weighing each truck is to determine how much waste is coming for each specific county.

That way those counties are billed accordingly.

From the weigh station, the waste then makes its way to the actual landfill.

"Each of the truck drivers will come out and they'll back up their trucks onto the tipper and it will be tipped. And then the compactor will come and scoop it up. There is a GPS system on the compactor... we design how the landfill will be built on the computer, and they can see exactly what they are building and how it should be built with trash," Francisco explains.

"When people typically think about a landfill, they just think about a spot in the middle of nowhere that is excavated with dirt and then trash is thrown in and covered up... which couldn't be further from the truth. We have a three liner system out at the landfill. We do annual and semi-annual ground water monitoring. I think people would be really surprised with how much engineering actually goes behind the thinking into the future of the landfill,” Bartlome adds.

And having a regional landfill is a major benefit for all seven counties and its citizens.

"If each county had their own individual landfill, the price would be about three times what they're paying right now. We have the lowest tipping fees in the nation at the landfill... which the community should feel really lucky about,” Bartlome explains.

Keeping your garbage from piling up and disposing of it in the best way available.

Currently the Milner Butte Landfill is only about 20 percent full.

If all goes to plan, the landfill should be in operation until the year 2100.


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