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Waste in Rural Alaska

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Rural landfills are often not connected by road to a larger landfill or are more than 50 miles by road from a larger landfill. They serve fewer than 1,500 people. These facilities are classified as Class III landfills.

Many challenges must be overcome to ensure environmentally sound and cost effective management of these rural landfills. Each community is assigned one of our Rural Landfill Specialists. This person is the community's contact for permitting, inspections, and general assistance to improve their solid waste management practices. They are your one-stop-shop for solid waste assistance and questions.

Landfill Permits and Renewals

State law requires all landfills to be permitted by the Solid Waste Program. If your landfill permit has expired or is about to expire, please contact your Rural Specialist for information on how to get it renewed. If you don't have a copy of the permit, your Specialist can provide one or you can look at our SWIMS database online to download a copy of it.

Funding is an important reason to keep your landfill permitted. If you are seeking funding to improve your landfill, already permitted landfills will rank higher in the scoring process than an unpermitted one. Also, organizations that provide grants or loans for rural projects require a permitted landfill to dispose of the project's waste.

Guidance and Forms for Rural Landfills

Resources for Villages

  • Funding Resource Guide (DOC) - Funding sources listed in the guide are available for solid waste and recycling projects. The sources listed have been applied for and implemented in rural Alaska over the past five years.
  • Landfill Life Expectancy Calculator (XLS) - This Excel-based calculator has separate worksheets for three different landfill designs: area fill, bermed area fill, and trench and fill. It can be used to estimate the remaining lifespan (i.e. years remaining) of the landfill and to estimate how operational changes can extend or reduce its lifespan.
  • Ordinance Template (DOC) - Having approved ordinance set standards of conduct and consequences for not following them. This ordinance template allows a community to set solid waste fees, make specific stipulations on how waste is disposed in the landfill, and outlines the approval process for certain waste streams or identify what wastes need to be backhauled out of the community.
  • Solid Waste Disposal Fee Worksheet (XLS) - This Excel-based document includes two separate worksheets: one to calculate landfill expenses and the other to determine administrative expenses. The Administrative Expense List provides a list of the various expenses from an administrative perspective, such as office supplies to equipment and fuel oil. The Landfill User Fee worksheet contains a list of the various expenses incurred in physically operating a landfill including the administrative costs. The sheet includes information on how to calculate monthly fee rates that should be charged to make the landfill financially sustainable. A Cheat Sheet is provided to help determine costs for each category. For example, equipment maintenance states to budget for performing 200, 500, and 750 hour preventative maintenance on your equipment each year at a minimum.

Rural Specialists

Find Your Community's Rural Landfill Specialist from the Staff below

Trisha BowerTrisha Bower


Sarah DurandSarah Durand


Stephen PriceStephen Price


Melinna FawMelinna Faw


Hannah SullivanHannah Sullivan


Kaylie HollandKaylie Holland