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County to implement 'tag' system at landfill, container sites

by Lake County Leader
| July 7, 2022 12:00 AM

Lake County residents will now be required to show a user tag before dropping off garbage at the county landfill or container sites, the county announced last week.

County officials said the program is intended to make sure users are authorized to use the facilities and pay county taxes.

Site attendants will hand out forms for residents to complete and return to the county solid waste management office. Once it is confirmed a user pays the county’s $180 solid waste fees through their tax bill, the county will send them a tag.

Users who do not pay the county’s fee through property taxes will pay the district directly and then be billed on an annual basis.

The tag must be presented when entering the site to prove the user is authorized. Enforcement of the policy will begin approximately 60 days after a site has become staffed, the county said in a press release.

A similar program has been in place at the Swan Valley site for a year.

Along with staffing the sites, the county will limit the days and hours at each site. Sites near each other will be open different days, to provide more opportunity for users to dispose of their waste.

“Our goals include stopping illegal salvaging, which includes riffling through everyone’s trash looking for drugs and information for identity theft; preventing dumping by folks that do not pay for solid waste and eliminating the dumping of construction and demolition waste that should go to the landfill,” the county stated in a press release. “We are aware that contractors from out of county are using our unstaffed sites to keep from paying for disposal in their own counties. All these things increase costs to the district.”

Another change at the sites is the installation of fall barriers as required by the Montana Building Code. These 42-inch-high barriers are in place for public safety, to prevent falls into the trash containers.

LAKE COUNTY Solid Waste Management operates the transfer station and Class 3 landfill on North Reservoir Road in Polson, and the C&D landfill on Kerr Dam Road in Polson. The district also operates six rural container sites, and a recycling center with three community drop-off sites.

Funds to operate the district are generated by a $180 per household fee collected from residential properties, including mobile homes. The fee is based on a family residential unit (or FRU) of 60 gallons of waste per week.

According to the county, the EPA estimates that each person in the United States creates 4.5 pounds of garbage every day.

Commercial businesses and tax-exempt entities, like cities, schools, and churches, pay $180 for each FRU equivalent they generate. Some Tribal Trust residential landowners do pay this fee, but most Tribal trust landowners typically have not. The Salish and Kootenai Housing Authority does pay $135 for their low-income residential units.

Due to illegal dumping, identity theft from junk mail refuse, vandalism, and other concerns, the District Board of Directors decided to staff all rural containers sites. Container sites are for use only by those residential properties in the Lake County / Dixon Joint Refuse Management District which pay the solid waste fee. Those not participating in funding the services are not authorized to use the facilities.

Residents with questions about the new policies or waste disposal can contact Lake County Solid Waste, 36117 North Reservoir Rd, Polson, MT  59860 or call (406) 883-7323.

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