As cleanup continues, parish landfill fills fast, causing some to worry about capacity

Published 7:00 am Friday, April 1, 2016

Bogalusa Public Works Director James Hall said city trash crews are picking up about 150 tons a day of debris and making progress at getting city streets clear of rubbish piles.

However, although the cleanup has been ongoing since last week, Hall said there is still work to be done and the entire city has not yet been cleared. Hall said his crews tried to clean the worst-hit parts of town first, and as of this week they are moving to the Pleasant Hill areas.

“We will make a second round after that,” he said.

The storm has brought extra pressure to the Choctaw Landfill, as residents from across the parish as well as the cities of Franklinton and Bogalusa are adding about twice the usual daily load.

According to Parish Public Works Director Leo Lucchesi, the average daily total at the landfill is 117 tons. Since the storm, Lucchesi said that average is now 228 tons.

“One of the primary concerns is that we may be overfilling the landfill,” he said at the parish council meeting Monday evening.

The council approved construction of an additional cell at the landfill, but work has not yet begun on the expansion project. In the meantime, the existing space is getting filled much quicker than anticipated.

“We’re just about doubling what were getting at the landfill, so we’re losing a day of life at the landfill every day,” he said.

He estimated a “nine or 10-month” life left in the existing cell before the storm hit.

However, he also said the dumping should slow down soon.

“It appears we reached a peak of trash pick-up last week,” he said.

Meanwhile, Hall noted that the cleanup means other, more regular city work might not get done as quickly.

“People need to be patient and understand that it’s going to take a little while to repair potholes and cut the grass because we’re picking up trash,” he said.

However, Hall said mosquito spraying will begin next week.