Area residents have an opportunity to influence the flow of waste into the regional landfill.
Two public hearings scheduled next month will give area residents a chance to talk trash.
The Jefferson/Douglas County Regional Solid Waste Management Planning Committee wants public input into its plans for future landfill management.
The hearings will be at 7 p.m. May 3 in the Jefferson County Courthouse in Oskaloosa and May 4 in the Douglas County Courthouse, 11th and Massachusetts.
Of particular interest to the committee, said Frank Hempen, Douglas County public works director, are suggestions for goals, objectives and alternatives the committee might incorporate into the plan it is preparing.
``Our best guess is that the landfill has 30 to 50 years of life in it. I want to stress that that's a conservative estimate,'' said Hempen, who is a member of the committee.
He noted, however, that local officials are feeling some pressure to reduce the waste stream going into the landfill. The bicounty landfill, which is operated on property owned by N.R. Hamm Quarry Inc., is located near the Douglas-Jefferson county line on U.S. Highway 24.
``The overall philosophy from the federal and state government is that maybe it's time to be less wasteful,'' Hempen said.
At the beginning of next month's hearings, a consultant will make a presentation summarizing data gathered so far about the waste stream going into the landfill. For example, 74,938 tons of trash are generated each year by Douglas County, with another 8,486 tons coming from Jefferson County.
The committee was created to comply with state and federal requirements that local governments have current solid waste management plans. Hempen said the mandate was intended to trigger problem solving in communities whose landfill space is at a premium.
Because Jefferson and Douglas counties have no immediate space problem, Hempen said the process of updating the plan affords the public an opportunity to discuss such issues as recycling and disposal of tires and household hazardous wastes.
A final public hearing on the plan will be held later this year. Even though the committee is not required to hold hearings early in the process, Hempen said its members wanted to give the public an opportunity to shape the process of producing the plan.
``These are extra steps we are taking to get the public involved,'' Hempen said.