Reconstructed Casper Balefill Building Opens Monday
The biggest, baddest pair of trash compactors will be open for business on Monday after a year of construction and years of wrangling over the ram rods that bunch your garbage into a bale.
The Casper Regional Solid Waste Facility, known as the balefill (more on that later), 1886 Station Road, opens the building after more than a year of construction that expanded the waste floor, doubled the capacity and added three commercial waste truck bays, solid waste manager Cynthia Langston said Friday.
"This building expansion improves customer service by reducing the need to drive to the landfill cell," Langston said.
The new baler building is the latest addition to the sprawling solid waste facility north of Casper that was built in the 1980s when it processed and buried 60,000 tons of waste a year, she said.
Natrona County and its municipalities have grown, as has the waste its residents produce -- now 140,000 tons a year.
While the facility is a landfill, the proper term is a "balefill."
The term comes from the evolution of disposing of waste in part when an Australian, living in a similar windy environment like central Wyoming, would bunch trash and use equipment to package trash like hay bales, Langston said.
But unlike hay bales with their farm-fresh fragrance, trash bales smelled, didn't hold everything in place and leaked ickky stuff.
So waste handlers came up with a solution to compact the waste and put it in cubical bags.
However, that hinged on the machines.
Casper had a problem with that. The hydraulic-driven pistons that pumped the trash into the cubes were faulty. It took years to figure out what was wrong, who was responsible, and how the city would pay for it, Langston said.
Each has two pistons -- one to compact the trash and another to push it into the big green bags.
When one of the pistons wasn't able to push out the bale, an employee had to get inside the machine to finish the job, which was dangerous, Langston said.
That's finally fixed. The facility now has two baling machines -- one operates weekly while the other is maintained. If the loads are too much for one, usually a problem in the summer, both machines can work.
Friday, balefill operators, city officials, the architect and a Caspar Building Systems representative watched how the new system works.
A city trash collection truck backed up in one of the large bays and disgorged its load of debris on the floor of the building. A bulldozer pushed the trash down the sloping floor to an earth mover fitted with a pair of jaws that could pick out what shouldn't go into the baler such as cardboard, carpet and lumber.
That machine then pushed the trash onto a conveyor that led to the baler that crunched it all into a cube.
After the baler ejected the compacted trash into the green bag, a forklift picked it up and placed it on a semi-trailer truck for transport to stack it in a cell.
While the new building and balers can do a lot, they can't accept the following waste:
- Dirt, concrete, brick and rock.
- Mattresses, sofas and wood furniture.
- Lumber and landscape timbers.
- Metal items.
- Animal carcasses.
Places for those items are near the baler building. For more information about waste disposal, visit the city's website.