Arkansas garbage to be dumped at Cherokee Nation Landfill

Wednesday, June 26th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

STILWELL, Okla. (AP) _ About 2,000 tons of dry Arkansas sewage will be dumped in the Cherokee Nation Landfill each month beginning by Aug. 1, officials said.

Springdale, Ark., officials searched for months for a landfill to dump treated sewage before contracting with the Cherokee Nation, owner of the only landfill in Adair County.

``It's not like we went looking for them,'' said Mike Miller, a Cherokee Nation spokesman. ``They came to us, and we're not opposed to helping someone in the neighboring area if they have something to dump. We run a landfill.

``Besides, we feel like it helps to protect our environment.''

A private contractor, Roll Off Service of Springdale, will haul as many as 84 trucks of treated sewage per month into Stilwell. The company will transport treated sewage to the Oklahoma landfill for the Springdale Water and Sewage Commission.

Roll Off Service will receive $24.85 per ton from the city, which could mean as much as $626,220 a year for the private contractor.

The Cherokee Nation has to get permission from Oklahoma's Environmental Quality Department, agency spokesman Michael Dean said.

Some Stilwell residents are concerned about the sewage coming through their city.

``It's their landfill and they can do what they want,'' Mayor Marilyn Hill-Russell said. ``But my biggest concern is that's a lot of sewage. Our city dumps our trash there, too. If they fill that landfill up, where does that leave us?

``You know, they're not the only ones outside this area dumping there.''

The mayor said she has seen other Arkansas dump trucks driving through town.

Northwest Arkansas is running out of landfill space.

The region's only landfill, Waste Management of Tontitown, recently was closed by the state and fined nearly $700,000 for improper procedures, said Roll Off Service Vice President Charyl Zotti.

Springdale is trying to coordinate a regional wastewater authority that would oversee a site where sludge would be dried and palletized for commercial fertilizer. The city also wants to build a new wastewater center by 2004.

Until then, the city's sewage will be dumped in Oklahoma.

``Our agreement (with Roll Off Service) has no time limit,'' Miller said. ``But this will be a very stable, safe manner in which this dried, treated sewage will be disposed.''