With the Benton Crossing landfill scheduled for closure on January 1, 2023, Mammoth Disposal is in the process of expanding its operations to accommodate the uptick in demand that will follow the landfill closure.
The Sheet spoke with staff from Mammoth Disposal this week to get a sense of what to expect and when, as the waste management firm upgrades its facilities.
First things first: the timeline is essentially fixed. Benton is still expected close on the first day of 2023 and Mammoth Disposal will assume the work that Benton was performing.
The expansion project on Commerce Street is already underway, having begun December 2020.
For now, it’s about completing the permitting process and putting the project out for bids.
The building permit has already been submitted for review to the town and the use permit process is set for town review by early April and the public review by the end of April.
If those processes remain on track, the permits should be granted by the last week of July, at which time bidding will be concluded and the construction process can begin.
Glen Long, District General Manager for Mammoth Disposa/Bishop Waste, expects the project to be complete about a year after groundbreaking and ahead of the landfill closure.
Some of the changes at the transfer station in Mammoth will be determined by the county during the Request for Proposal Process.
Waste Connections Inc. Regional Vice President Susan VanDelinder said that there are differences between what a landfill and a transfer station can accommodate/provide service for.
For example, certain material types that the landfill handled (i.e. green waste, some types of construction waste, etc) will be mostly disposed of at another location in the county, such as the Pumice Valley landfill.
However, the expansion in Mammoth Lakes will allow for a greater amount of services/space.
Long discussed the proposed renovations to the site.
A new indoor transfer station will be built on the lot, able to accomodate both commercial trucks dropping off waste and local residents dropping off their household waste.
Long said that those only wishing to drop off a bag or two of household garbage would not have to wait in line to use the transfer station
The Commerce St. household disposal area will remain, with additional space for customers to park and dispose of waste.
The area where the transfer station will be built is currently used for container storage. Those containers will be moved to a site out by Mammoth Yosemite airport.
Instead of making a trip out to Benton Crossing, Mammoth Disposal trucks will come to the transfer station to deposit their collections, which will then be moved elsewhere (likely Nevada for trash) by other trucks.
The office (currently to the left of the entrance) will be torn down and reconstructed closer to the transfer station.
Another part of the project is a dedicated recycling and buyback facility located 400 yards further up Commerce Street and on the other side of the road.
The aim in seperating waste from recycling, Long explained, is to reduce traffic and ease congestion at the transfer station, especially with a greater volume of trucks coming through the property.
“To get ahead of this,” VanDelinder said, “we’ve aleady started sorting single stream [recycling].”
There is potential, she continued, to ramp up the scale of that sorting process and begin taking on material from outside the Town of Mammoth Lakes as well as other places around Mono County.
After sorting, the recyclables will be bailed and sent down to Southern California.
The biggest challenge in all of this?
“We need to keep operational while we’re under construction,” Long said, as the facility will still have to meet demand from residents.
“We’re going to stage a lot of activity to reduce the conflict between contractors and our typical customers coming onto the property,” he continued, adding “We’ve done things like this before.”
Once the buyback and recycling facility is built and ready for operation, he said, it will immediately free up the traffic to and and from the current property.
As for how the Benton closure will impact the transfer station operations, VanDelinder said “Our route charts (total tonnage) are the majority of what would change.”
Instead of heading out to Benton, the trucks will drop off their waste in town and then head back out.
“I think [the disposal process] will be much better inside a building vs outside a building,” she continued. “It’s just going to look a little more structured and it’ll be able to handle more volume.”
Mammoth Disposal also stands to save money on gas and overall maintenace costs, as trucks won’t be leaving town to complete their duties anymore.
“[The expansion] will take us into the future,” VanDerlinder said,” This is a significant investment on our part and it’s very challenging to do while you’re still operating a facility…but it’s what we’ve committed to do.”
“That we can seperate comingled recycling…that’s a huge benefit to the Mammoth community,” she concluded.”