ROSWELL, N.M. (KRQE) – Delays from COVID-19 and heavy rains had one southeast New Mexico town with trash piling up all summer. Now, it looks like the problem is close to being resolved. The Roswell Municipal Landfill will be finishing up the construction of a new landfill cell after its previous one in use is reaching capacity. The cell, 5A, has been under construction for months but delays have made the final completion date move back from July to October.
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Cell 4, the current cell in use, was receiving close to 14,000 cubic yards a month. The Waste Management Department began to get worried back in February because of this.
“The current cell that were are dumping into is Cell 4 and we are reaching its max capacity and there is a certain elevation that we can get to,” said Fernando Valdez, City of Roswell landfill supervisor.
The plans were brought up in February as the landfill was filling up at a faster rate due to COVID-19 and more people spending more time at home. Construction began back in May but had to be delayed several times due to product shipping delays and rains throughout the summer flooding the cell.
“It’s a combination of not being able to get materials and the monsoon rains was a big delay but where we are now we are looking a lot better,” said City Engineer Louis Najar.
According to the city, the project will cost is $3.3 million. The new cell will keep Roswell and Chaves County covered for possibly the next 10 to 15 years. The cell will be able to hold close to 1.92 million cubic yards of waste. That’s roughly around 68,000 garbage trucks worth of trash.
Despite the total setbacks, the city says there is no extra cost to continue with the project.
“So it’s not costing the citizens any more, all that’s been costing is time and again you can’t fault the contractor or the city for the material deliveries and delays,” said Najar.
Now that the end is near the city is ready for the public to use it.
“We just thank the community for being so patient and working with us while we get all of this completed,” said Valdez
The project is expected to be completed by the end of October and be in use once the Environment Department gives the final approval. The city hopes that once this cell is finished, they will be able to increase hours on weekends.