Blue Sky Dumping and Recycling, city look to work things out

A Blue Sky Dumping and Recycling employee works through the mounds plant waste, or solid vegetative waste as the County Department of Developmental services calls it. Its proper disposal almost brought the company to court against the county.

The Yuma County Board of Supervisors avoided taking legal action against a waste disposal group after they saw that a lack of communication took place in the process.

The group, Blue Sky Dumping and Recycling, runs a lot for waste disposal less than a half mile south of the Yuma Municipal Golf Course.

In August, the Yuma County Department of Developmental Services notified Blue Sky that the company was in violation of an Arizona Department of Environmental Quality regulation on plant and organic waste disposal. DDS then sent them an Order of Abatement, a legal document demanding a stop to specific actions.

On Monday, DDS brought a motion before the Board of Supervisors to take the issue to the Superior Court. The DDS gave the business until Oct. 21 to fix the violation.

However, Blue Sky’s operations manager, Sharli Gonzalez, came to the meeting to say that Blue Sky had been taking the proper actions to resolve the issue.

“We did comply, we did do what was required for proper air, waste and water treatment,” Gonzalez said before the board. “There is no permit for a composting facility, so we are in the work of getting the composting removed from the facility. This does take time and money, so we’re moving as fast as we can. We’re working with Rural/Metro for the burning permit, which also takes money.”

Gonzalez also said that she sent a response to ADEQ but never heard back. Additionally, she said that Blue Sky management never thought that they had to get in touch with DDS.

“When we got the letter from (DDS), we got started on the process right away,” Gonzalez said. “We reached out to (ADEQ) to say what actions we were taking, but we never got a response”

After Gonzalez spoke, Craig Sellers, director of the Department of Development Services, stood to say that he had never heard anything from Blue Sky. At that point, Gonzalez introduced herself to Sellers. “Nice to meet you,” Gonzalez said.

“This looks like a problem of a lack of communication,” said Supervisors Chairman Tony Reyes. “I think you guys can work this out on your own, so we’ll allow time for this issue to move forward.”

The board decided to take no action on the issue with the expectation that the new connection will give way to a resolution.

Reyes said that this kind of issue is uncommon and the last thing that the county wants to do is take its residents to court.

“I was more than a little surprised they hadn’t worked something out,” Reyes said. “This was an issue that had been left to sit and had they been in contact, they could have solved it a lot sooner.”

Reyes said that the way the issue played out should show that the county wants to work with residents.

“What it shows is that we’re willing to work with residents and affected parties so that an issue doesn’t involve having to sue someone or take them to court,” Reyes said. “Once we saw that they were both present, we saw a way to work away the issue and save everyone from attorney costs.”

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