Facing ever increasing burdensome regulations and hassles with the landfill operation, county officials are beginning to think that a transfer station may be the way to go for the future.
During an all-committees meeting of the county commission Thursday night, County Mayor Mike Foster said he and the commissioners are planning a trip to Livingston Tuesday, November 22 to take a look at the solid waste transfer station there.
Foster went into more detail with WJLE in a phone interview Friday. "We're going to go up to Livingston to look at the transfer station for their solid waste.. They are one of several that do this. They bring their solid waste into a centralized location, dump it and segregate it. They go through it and pick out things that are readily recyclable. The rest of the main garbage they load onto a truck and haul it to a commercial site somewhere and pay a fee for dumping it in there. They don't have the environmental liability of running a landfill. We're looking at this option due to the all the environmental rules we have to go by," said Foster
"Right now (at the landfill) we have to put a 40 mil plastic liner over the entire mound of dirt when you're through as well as a 60 mil liner underneath it and then you have to put dirt on top of all that. The costs have just gone through the roof in the last three or four years so we're going to look at the option of doing that (transfer station). We may still want to run a class III/IV cell that doesn't require that (so many regulations) which would be mainly for construction materials and things like that and not household garbage," said Foster
"I think the county commission would want to make a decision on this probably within a year so we could start working toward that end because we have about two years left on the landfill that we're in now. Of course it would take some time to get a building ready and a spot to put the transfer station," said Foster
"We're probably going to go to Crossville soon. Crossville has a transfer station but they don't own it. Its owned by a subsidiary of Waste Management and they built the transfer station. Cumberland County just brings their garbage there and dumps it. They then pay them (Waste Management) a fee to handle it from that point on. We want to look at both scenarios so we can figure out which one best suits us. Depending on the costs involved, I personally would rather do the subsidiary where somebody else builds the facility and we just carry materials to them. That way we would not be out that initial cost. There's a lot of good benefits to that. They would have more experience in running that than we would so it just seems like a better fit," said Foster.
"If we had a class III/IV cell for construction materials and that sort of thing, it would just be dumped into a landfill that doesn't require all the liners because you can't put anything in there in the way of garbage. It would just have to be construction materials, shingles, and those kinds of things that you can cover and you don't have to haul the storm water away from it. You don't need a 60 mil liner under it and you don't need a 40 mil liner on top of it. Its just for construction material and debris, such as if you tore down a house, you could take that stuff in there provided it was checked and their weren't any toxic things in it," said Foster.
Foster speculated that the costs associated with going to a solid waste transfer station and maintaining a class III/IV cell would be about the same amount of money compared to the county continuing to operate its own landfill, but that the potential for environmental liability would be considerably less.
Waste transfer stations are facilities where solid waste is unloaded from collection vehicles and briefly held while it is reloaded onto larger long-distance transport vehicles for shipment to landfills or other treatment or disposal facilities.