The Northern Gila County Sanitary District has plans to discontinue the receiving of septic and grease trap wastes at its facilities on July 1. This change will result in homeowners with septic tanks and businesses with grease interceptors spending more money for their disposal needs.
For 20 years the district has accepted these waste materials at its facilities, but with the area's population growth, a need to preserve treatment plant capacity, the potential for adverse impact on the district's facilities and compliance with regulations and permits has forced the change.
Joel Goode, general manager, said the Buckhead Mesa Landfill's operating permits from the state and federal government don't allow it to take liquid waste. It was because of those restrictions the sanitary district board agreed to provide disposal services.
The district and septic haulers have had yearly agreements to accommodate the waste material, but as of June 30, those agreements will not be renewed, Goode said.
He said the way waste is intended to decompose in a septic system and the manner in which that same waste is processed in the plant are incompatible. The septic wastes add tremendous load or demand on the system. In order to put the septic waste into the plant's treatment process, extra steps and treatment components are needed. Waste from grease trap interceptors is put in drying beds to eliminate enough moisture for it to be acceptable material at the landfill. This process is labor intense and costly, Goode said. Currently the district dries and hauls the material to Waste Management's transfer facility for disposal off-site in its private landfill, he said. Business owners will need to explore all the alternatives of grease disposal, Goode said.
The district is assisting Gila County and the local haulers explore alternatives to lessen the economic impact to residents and businesses.