The Skull Valley Band of Goshutes will soon have its own formalized garbage collection system thanks to a $408,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Rural Development program and $336,000 from Tooele County. The tribe also contributed $15,000 to help with the project.
Most of the funds will be used to purchase a residential garbage collection truck, 50 residential curbside cans and a loader to improve the tribe’s solid waste collection and disposal system. Some money will be used for operator training and community awareness programs to help facilitate long-term success of this project.
In 1999 the tribe closed all the illegal dumps in the area, and began a solid waste disposal program.
One tribal member, would use his own vehicle to pick up trash at each household. This was done weekly and if the trash was not picked up the residents had to wait at least another week before their trash was collected.
Since the closures of unlawful dump sites, the only permitted solid waste facility in the area was Tooele County’s class IV landfill and drop box. The county operates the facility, and has annually submitted bills to the Goshute’s for the landfill’s operation. However, the tribe has not paid the county for solid waste disposal fees since 2000 and unpaid invoices are in excess of $60,000.
New dump sites started to pop up which caused a substantial health and safety risks to the residents of the reservation.
Because of this the Goshute Tribe submitted a grant request to USDA, Rural Development for assistance in improving its solid waste collection program. Through the efforts of Congressman Rob Bishop, Senators Bob Bennett and Orrin Hatch and Tooele County leaders the new waste program system was developed.
The equipment will be used by the tribe and Tooele County in partnership, to operate the local landfill, curbside collection and disposal services for the residents on the reservation and in the surrounding area.
While there are 450 enrolled tribal members, the primary reservation community has 150 residents, 120 of which are Goshute Tribal members and the remaining 30 are non-Indians living just outside the reservation boundaries.