Lawrence sanitation officials say they don't expect a dramatic rise in trash collection rates despite tougher landfill operation laws that a state official said could triple the cost of operating some landfills.
Federal regulations taking effect October 1993 will require more record keeping and extensive monitoring of landfills and groundwater, said Charles Linn, chief of the Kansas Department of Health and Environment's solid waste section.
But Lawrence public works officials say they don't think the new laws will increase significantly the cost of operating the Jefferson-Douglas County landfill in southern Jefferson County off U.S. Highway 24-59.
"The new regulations will cost those landfills that aren't in compliance," said Bob Yoos, Lawrence solid waste superintendent.
Landfill owner Rod Hamm has already installed systems for monitoring groundwater and capturing toxins before they seep into the ground, Yoos said.
"I think Hamm has already made improvements and has integrated them into their costs," Yoos said.
The fee for dumping waste in the 430-acre landfill is $15.52 a ton.
"No one can say for certain what will happen in the end, but they've given us no indication there would be a great increase in their rates," Yoos said.
Hamm was unavailable for comment Thursday and Friday.
George Williams, Lawrence public works director, also said that he doesn't anticipate a significant rise in landfill rates.
Even if they grew substantially, landfill costs would still be lower in Lawrence than many other areas of the country, Williams said.
"We're so fortunate to have such a well-run landfill in this area," Williams said. "I talk to my counterparts on the East and West Coast, and they are hurting."
A city in Pennsylvania must transport its waste more than one hundred miles to a landfill in West Virginia, Williams said, where dumping costs $137 a ton.
"Of course, they just don't have any more room out there. They don't have the wide open spaces that we have."
The Jefferson-Douglas County landfill will have room for trash for at least 35 to 50 more years, he said.