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County installs new waste compactors

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This Railroad Lane site off of East Pine Lodge Road is one of two sites in Chaves County to have new waste compactors installed. (Lisa Dunlap Photo)

Chaves County also is within a week of completing a smaller project.

With about $90,000 from a New Mexico Environmental Department grant, the county is installing six new waste compactors at two sites, said Bill Williams, Chaves County Public Services director.

Waide Construction Inc. poured the concrete pads and worked with an electrical subcontractor to provide power for the units.

Three of the four compactors have been placed at a site on Railroad Lane just south of East Pine Lodge Road, with the fourth expected to be delivered soon. They should be operating in about a week. The other two are located between Dexter and Hagerman at a site on Ojibwa and Miller roads.

“Our county employee costs will go down considerably,” said Williams, Chaves County Public Services. “We won’t have to have a person manning the sites.”

He said that the open-top containers now at the sites allow trash to blow away, even though county staff use backhoes to keep the trash packed down.

The county will phase out the open-top containers. The gates, which previously were closed at night, will remain open at all times once the compactor use begins.

“It is a lot better public service we believe, but we need to get the public to participate in making sure that we only get the appropriate types of trash,” he said.

He said normal household waste is acceptable, but large furniture or appliances, dead animals, tree limbs, construction materials, hazardous materials or burning or smoldering materials are not.

Williams said that, in a typical year, the county collects and takes to the city of Roswell landfill about 3,500 tons of waste, paying the city about $120,000 annually in dump fees.

The new compactors join four others already in place, two on Miller Road and two at Midway. Williams said that eventually the county would like to have additional compactors in Lake Arthur, Hagerman, East Grand Plains and, perhaps, Dunkin.