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Texas freeze could impact landfill cell construction

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February’s freeze and resulting power outages in Texas could have repercussions on Roswell’s landfill.

Chemical plants in Texas that manufacture polyethylene and other chemical compounds used in plastics were shut down in the extreme weather conditions and some remain offline, according to a March 17 Wall Street Journal report. That is creating a shortage of the materials and increasing prices.

Contractors preparing bids for construction of a new cell at the Roswell Municipal Landfill have reported they are having problems procuring material for the lining that is required for the cell, Abraham Chaparro, director of the city’s Solid Waste Department, said at Monday’s Infrastructure Committee meeting.

The city is expediting the construction on the new cell, as it found out in February the cell in use will reach capacity in July.

“We have been communicating with multiple companies nationwide. A lot of the HDPE, high-density polyethylene resin that’s used to build the liner comes out of Texas,” Chaparro said.

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City Engineer Louis Najar said the 18-acre cell is not large by most standards and that could help contractors in trying to find a supply.

“All we can do is go ahead and play this out and see what happens,” he said. “Maybe somebody has enough in supply somewhere that they can get it all put together.”

Committee Chairman Jacob Roebuck asked what the city’s contingency plan would be if the liner could not be found in time.

“There can be only one contingency plan. Either have the liner and you continue with the project, or the project goes on standby at no fault to the contractor,” Najar said.

He said the New Mexico Environment Department is aware of the shortage and told the city’s consultant on the landfill, Souder, Miller and Associates, it could possibly offer an airspace extension. That would allow the city to stack waste on closed cells until the new cell could be completed.

City/RISD reporter Juno Ogle can be reached at 575-622-7710, ext. 205, or reporter04@rdrnews.com.

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