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Logan looks ahead for landfill site

Matt Jensen

With the end in sight for Logan's solid waste landfill, the city is making long-term plans and turning the area into more than just an old dumping ground. UPR's Matt Jensen toured the landfill and has this report.

It’s mid-day at Logan’s solid waste landfill and the place is buzzing with activity. Garbage trucks line up to unload heaps of trash while a pair of bulldozers race to flatten it out and cover it with a layer of dirt. My tour guide is Emily Malik, a conservation coordinator for Logan city’s environmental department.

This has been going on here nearly every day for half a century and it’s almost time to call it quits. The landfill is nearly full and last week, one of the final votes was cast to open a new landfill in the north end of the Cache Valley near the Idaho border.

It’s taken more than a decade to get approval for the new site and in the next couple years, garbage will start flowing to the new location. With the end in sight for the old landfill, residents here might be wondering why Logan is building a pair of state-of-the-art buildings right next to the dump.

It turns out the city has big plans for the existing landfill. The site will soon be home to a brand new transfer station – a sort of warehouse structure with a concrete floor where garbage is dropped off and loaded onto large trailers that will transport the waste to the new North Valley Landfill. Managers say the system will reduce the amount of time and fuel it takes to get garbage to the new site.

Logan’s environmental department collects household and commercial waste from every city in Cache County and even when the old landfill is capped off, trucks will still bring all that waste here so it can be dropped off at the transfer station and trucked to the new landfill. John Christensen, an operations analyst for the environmental department, says collecting waste in Cache County is a big job.

The land next to the old landfill will also be home to a new headquarters for the environmental department, made up of several divisions including waste water, urban forestry and air quality. Construction on the new LEED-certified building is nearly complete. I put on a hard hat and went inside to see the progress.

Credit Matt Jensen
A newly-constructed garage space at the environmental department headquarters will house approximately 40 garbage trucks.

Around 80 people will work in the new $12 million complex outfitted with a large exercise room, ADA compliant restrooms and a modern laboratory for testing water samples from the sewage treatment process.

The modern building also houses offices and a reception area. Malik says the new facility will take Logan’s environmental department well into the future and help modernize how waste is collected in Cache Valley.

Waste from construction and demolition projects will continue to go into the existing landfill for years to come. But in the next couple years all residential and commercial waste will go to the new site and portions of the old landfill will be permanently capped. It’s estimated to cost around $7 million to close the Logan landfill, and managers have been planning how to do it for years.

In 2006, Cache County started a mandatory recycling program for its residents. Malik said the move added a few years of life to the landfill and says it continues to reduce the overall impact on the site. On average, recycling keeps about 50 tons of waste per day out of the landfill.

Credit Matt Jensen
John Christensen talks about the features of the new environmental department headquarters building in Logan.

Quick Facts about the existing Logan landfill:

  • Opened 1960
  • Added county-wide contracts in 1972
  • Average daily delivery is 250 tons
  • Average yearly delivery of 75,000 tons
  • Recycling reduces daily amount by 50 tons
  • Originally planned for closure in 2022