Local government

Thefts prompt county to seek alternatives for power at landfill

VALE – Malheur County is set to pay Idaho Power more than $2,000 for an engineering study to run electricity to the county landfill after thieves recently made off with the solar power batteries used to run the scale house at the facility.
The Malheur County Court on Wednesday, Oct. 12, approved a request for $2,800 made by Eric Evans, interim county environmental health department director.
The solar power system provides lights and power for the scale house, said Evans.
“It’s how we run the landfill,” he said.
The solar power system was the victim of thieves – who also stole batteries – about year and a half ago, said Evans.
“This time, though, they stole batteries plus a couple of trail cams we had set up,” he said, estimating the loss at about $800.
The cost of running a power line to the Lytle Boulevard site “will be pretty substantial,” he said, estimated at $100,000.
A direct power line to the facility would furnish better lighting at night.
“The only thing they are stealing is batteries. We can put lighting out there and a camera system,” said Evans.
With the solar system, the county now relies on a portable generator to power the scale house. That, in turn, is costly and doesn’t meet the county’s needs, said Evans.
It is also not a long-term solution, said Don Hodge, Malheur County commissioner. He said while there is some sticker shock to the $100,000 price tag to run power to the landfill he said long-term it is a good investment.
“There could be more structures out there in the future that need power. So, it is kind of a pay me now or pay me later,” said Hodge.

News tip? Contact reporter Pat Caldwell at [email protected]

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