County trash transfer station in line for a big upgrade
MIDDLEBURY — The Addison County Solid Waste Management District (ACSWMD) is planning almost $1 million in upgrades to its Middlebury transfer station property off Route 7 South in order to better receive and store a surging amount of recyclable material and to expand its cramped administrative offices.
New state laws designed to take additional waste out of Vermont’s waste stream are driving the upgrades in question. Trash districts are already seeing an explosion in the number of electronics items they must handle, owing to the new recycling mandate. And come next July, those districts will become temporary drop-off centers for unused paint, as a result of a bill signed into law this past spring.
This will be the ACSWMD’s second major reconstruction effort on its 10-acre parcel in eight years. In 2005, the district made some major changes to the waste handling portion of its operation. The improved infrastructure and site layout provided better facilities and easier access for haulers to drop off garbage and construction and demolition debris.
“We knew that we were going to have to have additional work on the ‘special waste,’ as we call it — most of the materials that we send out for recycling,” ACSWMD Manager Teresa A. Kuczynski said. “Because those materials are growing in such volumes, in part due to these new (recycling) laws we have been talking about, we feel like we are outgrowing the small sheds that used to work really well for us.”
Information provided by the ACSWMD shows that the transfer station took in 160 tons of electronics and TVs during 2012, more than double the previous year. For two years in a row, the ACSWMD has won an award from the Northeast Resource Recovery Association for being at, or near, the top of e-waste recycling in the state of Vermont.
The station took in around 370 tons of corrugated cardboard and other curbside recyclables last year, up dramatically from approximately 40 tons the previous year. ACSWMD officials reported the station — through June 30 of this year — has already taken in 55,000 linear feet of fluorescent bulbs. That’s 5,000 more linear feet than the station received during all of last year.
All of this material has to be properly stored at the transfer station until it makes its way to handlers. With that in mind, a major component of the upcoming project is construction of a 35-foot-by-40-foot centralized “special waste” building, which would be endowed with some outdoor canopies.
“We now have to fit this stuff into a conglomeration of sheds, which doesn’t do the best job of housing it securely and dry,” said Don Maglienti, ACSWMD program coordinator.
Total transactions at the transfer station continue to rise each year.
“We’re fitting more and more people on this site and giving them more and more reasons to come here,” Maglienti said. “Traffic flow is of paramount concern. We want to keep (customers) happy and safe and make it easy for them to find where they need to go.”
So another big component of the upcoming project will be traffic flow improvements. New routing and signs will make it apparent where haulers need to go to drop of recyclables.
“Once you’re coming off the scales, unless you are dropping off scrap metal, waste oil or hazardous waste to the areas in the front (of the transfer station property), people will take a left and head up a hill behind the reuse center, and that driveway is going to be elevated,” Kuczynski said. The driveway will lead to the new special waste building, which will have a pullover area for consumers to unload their materials without blocking traffic. People will deliver materials — electronics, books, bulbs and perhaps batteries — to a series of tables at the building.
The vehicles will proceed down a slope where they will encounter a reuse center, handling household goods and construction material. They can then continue to the yard waste area (concrete bunker). This will ultimately lead them to the transfer station exit, with the option of looping back toward the scales.
Rounding out the project will be a modest expansion of the ACSWMD administrative building that will create two new offices and a conference room. One of the new offices will be reserved for a new hire who will help the district adapt to Act 148, a new state law that beginning next year will mandate more extensive recycling and composting programs.
Around half of the estimated $950,000 project costs will be taken from an ACSWMD capital reserve fund. The remaining $500,000 will be floated through a bank loan, according to Kuczynski. The district will soon be retiring some outstanding debt, to the extent that payback on the loan for the new project should not result in any increases in ACSWMD fees.
Perhaps the largest expense for the project, according to Kuczynski, will be for the necessary blasting of some ledge as part of construction, slated to begin this fall.
A separate (from Act 148) recycling measure will also take effect next July 1. It’s a law that requires paint manufacturers to fund and operate a program through which unused paint is returned — to either a vendor or the local solid waste district — and ultimately recycled. The manufacturers will, of course, build the cost of the program into paint products. The law covers what is referred to as “architectural paint,” latex, oil-based and the like. It will not include specialty blends, such as automotive or airline paints, or aerosol paint. The recycling/disposal of used paint is now subsidized through the ACSWMD household hazardous waste program.
Retailers will also be able to set up their own collection sites.
“What the bill does is it essentially pays for our transport and recycling/disposal costs,” Maglienti said, noting paint makes up roughly 70 percent of the hazardous waste the transfer station takes in.
Reporter John Flowers is at [email protected]
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