UNDERWOOD — Most people don’t spend a lot time thinking about landfill operations. They certainly don’t think in terms of the work that goes into the operation and making sure it meets federal and state regulations.
“It’s not just dumping the waste and covering it up or loading up the household waste and transferring it,” Lauderdale County Solid Waste Manager Robert Bevis said. “We have to meet so many codes and regulations, and our guys do a good job. They take their job seriously and it shows.”
That kind of work ethic is a key ingredient in the new Lauderdale County Landfill being selected as the best construction and demolition waste landfill in the state.
The award is through the Alabama Department of Environmental Management and was presented to Bevis at the annual Solid Waste Association of North America meeting.
“This recognizes landfill facilities that go above and beyond what our regulations are,” said Scott Hughes, an ADEM spokesman.
Bevis said this is the first year for the awards.
“We got the first one, and I’m proud of that; so are our people that work in the department,” he said. “This says we’re doing everything we are supposed to.”
The county operates a C&D landfill on Alabama 157 in the Underwood community north of Florence. The county’s household garbage is hauled to a EPA-approved landfill in Lawrence County.
The landfill, which opened Oct. 3, 2011, is on a 70-acre tract owned by the county. It is near the old landfill, which closed Oct. 1.
Bevis said the landfill is reviewed every three months by ADEM inspectors.
“They look at everything to make sure we are doing our job right,” he said. “They look for litter, they make sure the debris and trash we have taken in is properly located and covered regularly.”
He said the inspectors make sure no contaminates or hazardous materials have been accepted. They also look for proper drainage at the property as well as making sure there is enough manpower and equipment on site.
Bevis said the old landfill that is now closed also is routinely inspected.
Hughes said input from the inspectors was a major factor in the award selection.
“They see what’s happening, how the landfill is being operated and if everything is being done properly,” Hughes said. “We also look at compliance records and the visual aspect of the property to see who goes above and beyond our requirements.”
Commission Chairman Dewey Mitchell said the award shows the kind of job being done by Bevis and members of his department.
“They’ve worked hard out there and that hard work paying off,” Mitchell said.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.