Fire at East Valley landfill facility disrupts cities’ recycling programs

Oct 25, 2019, 4:30 PM | Updated: Oct 28, 2019, 5:30 pm
(Salt River Landfill Photo)...
(Salt River Landfill Photo)
(Salt River Landfill Photo)

PHOENIX – An East Valley landfill fire is forcing at least one Phoenix suburb to suspend its recycling program and another to seek out alternatives.

The Salt River Landfill at State Route 87 (Beeline Highway) and Gilbert Road in Scottsdale is out of commission after a blaze broke out Thursday night and burned into the next day.

The recycling facility used by Republic Services at the landfill was destroyed, according to a Friday press release from the town of Fountain Hills. Republic Services provides the town’s curbside recycling and trash service.

As a result, the release said, Republic Services has to suspend its recycling services until it can find another place to process recyclable materials.

The Fountain Hills release said the fire was caused by a lithium-ion battery and spread by 60 mph winds. Republic Services told KTAR News 92.3 FM the cause was still under investigation.

Fountain Hills residents can still leave their recycling bins out for scheduled pickups during the suspension, but the contents will be dumped in the landfill, the release said.

Gilbert, Mesa and Scottsdale also used the Salt River recycling facility, according the landfill’s website.

However, Gilbert doesn’t use Republic Services for recycling and was not impacted by the fire.

A Scottsdale spokesperson said the city took its recyclables to a different recycling facility Friday and was in the process of evaluating its options.

Mesa diverted materials to other recycling facilities it contracts with over the weekend and was working with Republic Services on a temporary plan, a city spokesman said Monday.

Republic Services issued the following statement to KTAR News 92.3 FM on Friday afternoon:

“We are grateful no one was injured and we are working with our municipal partners to identify short-term and long-term recycling processing solutions that will help us continue serving our customers with minimal interruption. The cause of the fire is under investigation and the recycling center is currently closed.”

The landfill’s website said the recycling facility opened in 2001 and processes more than 85,000 tons of material a year.

Crews continued putting out spot fires and performing cleanup activities at the landfill Friday, according to the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community’s Facebook page.

The tribe said the landfill would remain closed at least through Friday. Regular hours are 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Mondays-Saturdays.

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Fire at East Valley landfill facility disrupts cities’ recycling programs