Archuleta County is still not as recycling-friendly as it intends to be.
With an unforeseen issue halting progress on the county’s new recycling facility at the transfer station on County Road 500 (Trujillo Road), the facility’s anticipated opening date of Nov. 19 is now nearly a month in the past.
Work toward a new recycling facility, which will employ a single-stream recycling trailer housed under a roofed structure, began last spring.
The 100-cubic-yard trailer, one of the final hurdles of the project, was delivered on Nov. 10, but was deemed insufficient for the project upon its arrival.
County Administrator Greg Schulte said the trailer’s frame is in substandard shape, with spots of rust, and was not the quality the county desired.
The county paid about $18,000 for the used trailer.
Because the trailer was not what county staff expected, the trailer is being returned to the vendor, Schulte said.
Schulte noted that the vendor is expected to find other trailers available for purchase by today, Thursday, with Schulte adding the price would likely land in the same neighborhood, but will depend on the trailer’s availablility.
“What I’m encouraged by is that they understand it’s not a suitable trailer,” Schulte said, adding that the vendor has three locations and felt the trailer, which was at a different location than the vendor, was misrepresented when it was described.
Once the next trailer is acquired, the new recycling facility is anticipated to be up and running, with recycled materials sent, initially, to Santa Fe.
County staff’s original plan was to send the recyclables to a new facility in Aztec, N.M., but that facility is not expected to be complete until June, Schulte said.
Until that facility is available, the materials collected in Archuleta County will likely be hauled by county staff to Santa Fe, where there is one more hurdle to jump.
Currently, the county’s Solid Waste Department owns a truck capable of hauling the materials to Santa Fe, but does not have a truck capable of dumping the trailer, Schulte explained.
The likely answer to the problem, Schulte continued, is to hire a private contractor to meet Archuleta County staff in Santa Fe to dump the truck.
Other options may be looked at next summer when Archuleta County is able to haul recyclables to Aztec.
Design revisions, issues with the contractor obtaining the pre-made building structure for the site, procurement of a trailer and the hauling have contributed to the length of the process, but Solid Waste Director Chris Tanner previously told SUN staff he is pleased with the project and how long it took, citing bid and purchasing requirements required by government.
While the new recycling facility has seen its share of speed bumps, recycling in Pagosa Springs has faced more problems.
Currently, recyclable material colected in the limited operation at the transfer station in Pagosa Springs is divided by material, then hauled to the Durango recycling facility for processing.
Although the Durango center is again taking glass and plastic, the Pagosa Springs facility is not taking glass.
Commissioner Clifford Lucero said the Santa Fe facility does not accept glass, so the county opted to not accept it for hauling to Durango, only to have to stop accepting it when staff begins hauling material to Santa Fe.
In a previous interview with SUN staff, Tanner clarified claims that recyclables are simply hauled to the landfill by explaining that contaminated materials cannot be recycled, such as recently when cooking and motor oil were dumped into a recycling bin, contaminating everything in the bin.
Also, Tanner said, the transfer station currently has no storage capacity for recycling, so if it is a material Durango’s center will not accept, or if the bins are full, materials are taken to the landfill.