Wednesday, March 7, 2007

Ohio Gulch facing storage quandary

Construction and demolition site filling up

Express Staff Writer

The construction and demolition material site at the Ohio Gulch Transfer Station is filling up and running out of space, according to Terry Schultz, executive director of Southern Idaho Solid Waste.

Schultz met with the Blaine County Commission Tuesday morning to discuss the potential purchase of an adjacent 80-acre site owned by the Bureau of Land Management.

"As we fill we have less and less space to work with," Schultz said. "We're currently filling the top part of the pyramid. We've realized that additional property needs to be acquired to maintain the operation."

The Central Idaho Economic Development and Recreation Act, which died in the 109th Congress last fall, would have gifted 425 acres of public land to Blaine County for public purposes. Part of that land transfer would have been used to expand the Ohio Gulch Transfer Station. While the bill has been reintroduced in the 110th Congress, its fate is uncertain.

Therefore, the commission authorized Schultz to pursue a request for proposals for a contractor to appraise the value of the 80-acre parcel and to determine the cost of a National Environmental Policy Act analysis.

Schultz said it will probably take two to three years for the current site to fill to capacity. If that happens without a new site in place, Schultz said moving the operation would be difficult and costly.

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