Waste Rate Changes



You may be aware of the recent changes directed by the Rapid City Public Works Department concerning the change in the Rapid City Landfill hours of operation due to staffing challenges.  I am writing you to explain how these changes are negatively affecting our operations and explain why we are being forced to substantially increase our prices because of these changes.

In the Press Release, copy attached, the Rapid City Landfill announced a reduction in their hours of operation.  The community was given a very short 5-business day notice of these changes. This decision was announced without any input from those affected and since that announcement I have been fervently expressing my concern of the short sidedness and lack of stakeholder involvement in the decision-making process.  Specifically, I have written a letter to the City Council, contacted many media outlets, contacted many stakeholders to inform them of the impact of these changes, left messages with the Mayor’s office (that were not returned), and ultimately was given a meeting on February 25th with the Public Works Director and others in the Public Works Department. At that meeting I expressed my frustration. Since it was apparent, I was not being given due consideration I ultimately walked out when I realized there was no interest or intention to rethink their decision.

These changes affect the efficiency of our operations in many ways.  We now have 45 minutes less, each day, in what was a previously a 9.5-hour window to deliver solid waste to the landfill.  As a result, our trucks in many cases will be required to head to the landfill before the truck is full to meet the 3:45 PM cutoff time.  As a result of the new cutoff time, it is reasonable to assume lines will be longer then normal at the landfill since other commercial haulers must meet the same deadline.  Again, a net negative to our operations.  

In addition to the daily hour reduction, the decision also included the closure of the Rapid City Landfill to commercial users on Saturdays.  We have accounts that require Saturday service, this decision complicates the serviceability of those customers. Bottom line: our company has to add equipment and drivers to collect the same amount of trash, which is a significant reduction in efficiency and additional expense that ultimately, we have to pass on to our customers.

You will receive an increase on your invoice as a result.  Please know that I have done everything I can think of to prevent this decision from the Rapid City Public Works Department being implemented. I have enclosed a FAQ sheet that will help address many questions that have been raised.

Thank you for your business!  I promise we will continue to work hard for you!

Fred Folsom, President

Sander Sanitation


There are many residential accounts that cannot be serviced before 6:00 AM as many can appreciate the negative experience of a garbage truck picking up trash at 4:00 in the morning in their neighborhood.  Additionally, there are municipalities that mandate by contract, agreement or ordinance how early residential trash can be picked up.

Yes, the trash can be collected on Saturday and left on a truck until Monday.  However, a loaded truck cannot start a route first thing Monday morning.  In that scenario, more trucks will be needed that will be inefficiently used. Additionally, driver hours added to deal with the shorter landfill hours reduce operational efficiency.

Approximately, 20% of the weeks yearly, are condensed work weeks.  The landfill closes for 8 holidays a year and there are typically a few days a year when a weather event impacts operations.  In these cases, we have been able to run our routes a day behind.  With no Saturday disposal option, that simply won’t be possible.  We will have to adjust by adding more trucks and more drivers to be able to pick up the same amount of trash.

Granted, you may not live in Rapid City, but the Rapid City Landfill is a regional landfill and much of the solid waste collected throughout the Black Hills is delivered to the Rapid City Landfill.  Our operations in its entirety are affected by this decision, not just where an individual customer or business may reside.

Limiting the efficiency of our trucks cost us money.  We will end up using more trucks, more fuel and more people to pick up the same amount of solid waste. These additional expenses cannot be absorbed and ultimately has to be passed on to the customers we service.

The Public Works Department announced in their Press Release that this change was permanent.  There has been nothing communicated to the contrary so we are forced to plan as though this change will not be reversed or modified by the Public Works Department.

I cannot speak to the specifics of the rationale and reasoning for the decision made by the Public Works Department as I was not privy to that discussion and was just told of the decision.  When I asked about the hours being restricted only to commercial haulers, it was explained that the labor challenge was on the working face of the landfill where trash is offloaded directly out of trucks and immediately buried.