Department of Environmental Studies
This report is an economic feasibility study on building a solid waste recovery facility within the Four Corners economic region. Three scenarios are included in this study and present the different choices for a solid waste management district to be used as a central unifying tool for controlled municipal Solid Waste (MSW) management in the 4-Corners Region. Three scenarios were chosen to see how large of a recovery facility and waste ‘zone’ could be reached before public benefit would diminish. Results of Scenarios One and Two shows to be quite effective for waste recovery with plenty of room for expansion to the size of Scenario Three. The boundaries selected for Scenario Three represents the towns and communities that can be reasonably serviced without reaching the point of diminishing returns. This doesn’t mean that other communities cannot benefit from the regional facility; it just means that facility transportation of the waste components beyond those boundaries would not be cost effective for the facility. The communities out of the ‘service zone’ will have to furnish means of getting their waste to the recovery facility. Scenario One is a calculation of solid waste volumes, landfill and recovery facility requirements for La Plata County, Colorado. Findings show that a large recovery facility can be supported by La Plata County solid waste. Reduction in landfill size through a recovery facility is significant enough to warrant another look for a smaller landfill site. Composting is feasible. Scenario Two is a calculation of solid waste volumes, landfill and recovery facility requirements for four counties (Region Nine) combined into a regional waste district in southwest Colorado (Archuleta, La Plata, Montezuma, and Dolores). Findings show that a large recovery facility can be supported by the counties in this scenario. Conclusions on landfills are that existing landfill space for Montezuma, Dolores and Archuletta counties is adequate. Since La Plata County has no landfill, it can re-look for a new recovery reduced landfill site, or continue shipping waste residues to New Mexico. Scenario three is a calculation of solid waste volumes, landfill and recovery district requirements for eight counties that abut the state lines that make up the Four Corners monument. The scenarios in this report are designed to answer the questions: 1. Is it economically feasible to build a regional waste recovery facility? 2. Is there enough solid waste to support a regional recovery facility? 3. What impact will a regional recovery facility have on future landfill needs (size)? 4. What kind and how many jobs does a recovery facility create? 5. Can a regional recovery facility cut costs of transporting recycled materials to market? 6. Will there be enough waste collected at a regional facility to attract end-users? 7.What other influences, that can be incorporation to encourage management of solid waste, are in the area?