It’s not uncommon for the Mat-Su Central Landfill to shut down during high winds, but Solid Waste Division manager Butch Shapiro said two days in a row is unusual.

“It’s really only been three or four days for the past couple years,” Shapiro said.

Tuesday was the fourth day the landfill was closed in January alone. Shapiro said that happens when winds are consistently blowing about 25 miles an hour with gusts up to 45.

"They’re gusting to 60 right now,” Shapiro shouted through the wind.

With that kind of force, he said they have to close out of safety concerns.

“I've had box spring mattresses fly 60 feet through the air. Things like that come down and knock you out. It can be very dangerous around here when the wind is blowing,” he said.

Then there’s the trash. The landfill takes in about 144 million pounds every year. There are 10 large fences scattered around to prevent flyaway garbage from littering the neighboring woods. Even those aren’t enough on windy days.

“The higher the wind gets the less likely you are to capture it in the fences,” Shapiro explained.

He said the closure has a big impact for commercial haulers, which make up about 80 percent of the landfill’s customers.

“What happens is the waste gets backed up. They can't run their routes or if they do run them they get the waste in the trucks and they can't dump it here.”

Shapiro said he knows it’s an inconvenience but said there’s not much they can do until Mother Nature stops bringing on the blustery days.

“It's part of living in the Valley and being at the confluence of these two beautiful glaciers, the Matanuska and the Knik.”

To get up-to-date closure information visit the Mat-Su Borough Solid Waste Services Facebook page.

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