Wyoming lawmakers are expected to pass legislation that would set aside $40 million to address groundwater pollution from landfills.
"The Department of Environmental Quality has been doing monitoring and collecting data about landfills in this state. And they've determined that 69 landfills are polluting groundwater," said Shannon Anderson with the Powder River Basin Resource Council.
The resource council says the DEQ marked 11 landfills as top priorities for the state, including Sheridan's.
"It's very close to a lot of water wells. So there's people that get their drinking water fairly close to where the landfill's located," said Anderson.
A DEQ report shows some groundwater is affected by the now closed, older Sheridan landfill, but the city says the new landfill is not currently polluting any nearby groundwater.
"We don't feel that there's pollution in our landfill, but it's something that we have to monitor on a daily basis. And that's to be in compliance with our landfill permit through DEQ," said Utilities Manager Dan Roberts.
Roberts believes the bill's intent with the new landfill is to limit the potential for serious problems.
"Gillette and Sheridan have two of the larger landfills in the area, apart from Casper and Cheyenne. So I think the potential exists," said Roberts.
Environmental groups like the resource council are optimistic the bill will pass the State House and Senate after just getting approval from the House Minerals Committee.
Five landfill projects in Sheridan, Buffalo, and Campbell County could cost a total of $13.5 million. The state would pay for three quarters of the bill.