Last night, the Kewaunee County Board of Supervisors voted to not go forward with the Phase III expansion of the Kewaunee Co. Landfill. The vote was 17 Yes (to not proceed) 2 No (to send back to committee) and 1 abstention vote.
This was a very difficult vote for the board, but given the historical financial losses the landfill has incurred, it was the right vote as the financial projections for any expansion revealed it was highly unlikely this landfill would ever operate at a break even.
This vote was taken by the full board only after the Solid Waste Committee had explored every possible option to expand that landfill and operate it without incurring more losses. Fact is, a landfill in today’s environment can operated profitably only when receiving large volumes of refuse and when they have a minimal staff. In Kewaunee County, we simply do not have the volume of refuse to make this landfill work.
This vote does not mean the landfill is closed. What this vote means is, now the Solid Waste Committee has to plan the future of how to handle the remaining space of approximately 130,000 cubic yards. There are several options. One would be to Increase the price on the commercial hauler rate which would have the effect of reducing the tonnage into the landfill thus saving the 130,000 cubic yards for Kewaunee residential use. Concurrent with that decision, the staffing and operational hours would have to be adjusted. This option could keep the landfill open for another 14 to 16 years if used just for the Kewaunee residential use. Note--- a lot of unanswered questions need to be answered by the DNR on our options before this could be implemented.
Another option would be to fill the space as fast as possible and then close the site. This option provides serious challenges as we’d have to lower our tipping fees significantly to increase our tonnage which is quite risky from an operational cost perspective. Additionally, it does not address the concerns of the community with regard to having a place to have their refuse taken
A decision on the future operation of this landfill will be taken in the next couple of months.