The Regulatory Commission of Alaska recently approved the expansion of Colville’s solid waste service area across the North Slope, stretching from the eastern border of ANWR westward to Point Hope and extending offshore to the Chukchi and Beaufort seas. A map of the area as proposed and approved can be found at www.colvilleinc.com.
“With this expansion, Colville holds not only the largest certificated service area of any regulated utility in Alaska, but also one of the largest service territories of any regulated utility in the entire United States,” Colville attorney Matt Findley of Ashburn & Mason said in a May 27 Colville press release.
In existence since 1981, Colville Solid Waste Services has grown in response to both increased exploration and expanded production in the oil industry. The company said its environmental record is “excellent in recycling as well as disposal.”
Colville’s ultimate goal for the future is “zero landfill disposal,” said company President and Chief Executive Officer Mark Helmericks. “We already supply a waste-to-energy plant in Spokane with valuable resources sorted and recycled from the solid waste stream. That material would have otherwise been buried, reducing the useful life of the NSB’s Oxbow Landfill by many years.”
“Colville has been a solid business presence on the North Slope since its inception, and has consistently demonstrated that it has the resources and capability to operate efficiently and reliably in the region’s challenging physical and business climates,” said longtime Colville counsel Bill Saupe of Ashburn & Mason.
Colville originated with the philosophy of “handling the leavings of industry in an environmentally sound manner in the harsh, yet fragile Arctic,” said Helmericks. That simple phrase is attributed to his father and founder of the company, Bud Helmericks, and is described as the founding principle of Colville’s solid waste utility in regulatory documents.
Colville maintains a fleet of specialized equipment, including vehicles, bear-proof dumpsters and trailers to move solid waste across seasonal ice roads and year-round gravel. The company’s staff consists of some of the most knowledgeable drivers and handlers in the business. Often pulling two loaded trailers behind a heavy hook truck, Colville drivers will log hundreds of miles in a work rotation safely handling customer’s unique needs in all Arctic conditions, the company said.