Wednesday, March 26, 2014

WTCX Trip: Landfill

Continued from North to Landfill.

On the way up we passed right through Headquarters without stopping, though we were promised we would stop there before heading back down to give us a little break. The end of the line, at least for us, was the "Weyerhaeuser Regional Landfill Facility," or simply "Landfill," 17 miles from Longview.

Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) at the Weyerhaeuser Regional Landfill Facility on May 17, 2005
View of Landfill from the first caboose after the locomotives cut off.

The landfill was built in 1993 and was designed to accept municipal waste, although Weyerhaeuser was only approved to dump industrial waste there. The landfill was fitted with a high-density plastic bottom liner, monitoring equipment, and a piping system to collect contaminated stormwater called leachate to prevent contamination of soil and nearby streams and lakes. When each section of the landfill is full, it is capped with soil, another plastic liner and filters.

56154116-26 Empty Cab of Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) SW1500 #305 on May 17, 2005
View of the empty cab of #305 after turning at Landfill. Photo by Cliff West.

At Landfill, the train was turned with an unusual technique. The train stopped, just before reaching the siding, the locomotives cut off and ran ahead, and the switch was thrown for the siding. I think they were hoping that the cabooses would roll on their own into the siding, and they could use the hand brakes to stop them and then couple the locomotives to the other end, but the cabooses wouldn't roll, so the locomotives came back, gave the cabooses a tug, and then uncoupled and ran ahead again. The switch was thrown and the cabooses coasted into the siding, then the locomotives ran back, backed into the siding and coupled on again for the trip down the hill.

56154116-28 Riding the Weyerhaeuser Woods Railroad (WTCX) on May 17, 2005
Heading back towards Headquarters. Photo by Cliff West.

On February 18, 2014, Cowlitz County commissioners approved an agreement to purchase the Weyerhaeuser landfill for $17.9 million to replace its nearly-full landfill on Tennant Way in Longview, which had received 2.5 million tons of solid waste since it opened in 1976. The deal closed on March 12, 2014, and Cowlitz County began shipping municipal waste to the landfill the next day. The 380-acre Weyerhaeuser landfill is three times the size of the Tennant Way landfill, and will be disposing of four times the amount of waste. In addition to municipal waste, the landfill will continue to accept pulp mill wastes from Weyerhaeuser, KapStone Paper & Packaging (owner of the Longview Fibre paper mill), and out-of-county industrial wastes that had been brought there for about the previous 10 years. The landfill was expected to take in about 400,000 tons of waste per year with a 100-year capacity. About 20 trucks per day were expected to arrive at the landfill: 12 with household garbage and 8 carrying pulp and industrial waste. Weyerhaeuser, which has a 30-year agreement with the county to dispose of its waste at the landfill, continues to ship its waste to the landfill by train.

Continue to Headquarters

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