Report outlines transfer station closures

By Debra J. Groom

A plan looking at closing four of the Oswego County transfer stations is complete and says the stations could be closed by the end of 2015.

Savings from these four closures would amount to about $500,000 a year, said Frank Visser, director of the county’s solid waste department.

“A decision hasn’t been made on this yet,” Visser said this week. “The committee has to look at it and will revisit it at its next meeting (at the end of June). It’s a big decision.”

The county Legislature’s Infrastructure, Facilities and Technology Committee on Tuesday receive an 86-page report done by Visser and other county officials concerning whether the transfer stations could be closed.

The Legislature directed Visser and others to look at ways to save money in the solid waste department. The county Legislature already has agreed to close each transfer station one day a week beginning July 1 and raise fees for bringing items to the stations in hopes of making up some of the deficit run by the transfer stations.

But the Legislature also wanted a study on whether it would be feasible to close the transfer stations outright.

The plan presented Tuesday says it can be done.

Here are some highlights from the plan:

• Hannibal and Hastings transfer stations would be the first to close by the end of 2014. Hastings has had the largest decline in usage and Hannibal is in need of about $80,000 in structural repairs.

• Oswego and Pulaski would be closed by the end of 2015.

• When Hannibal and Hastings close, Oswego and Pulaski will go back to a full 5 ½ day operating schedule instead of the 4 ½ day schedule they will have come July 1.

• There will be some environmental issues to consider in closing the stations, such as cleaning the waste area, emptying the leachate collection tank, removing all equipment,

Removing propane tanks at Hastings and Pulaski and securing all sites. The state Department of Environmental Conservation will have to be notified and an Environmental Assessment Form will have to be completed.

• There will have to be a public education plan so residents know what is going on with the closures, how they will be impacted, what options exist for residents to dispose of their solid waste and will safety issues crop up if there end up being long lines at the remaining transfer stations once the first two close.

• The Department of Solid Waste will have to gather information for the public on where they can dispose of specialty items collected at the transfer stations, such as electronics, waste oil and refrigerated units.

Once the first two transfer stations close, users will have to make other arrangements for disposing of their garbage — either going to one of the other transfer stations, contracting with a commercial hauler or having municipal pickup. Not all municipalities in Oswego County offer garbage pickup (offered only in Fulton, villages of Mexico, Phoenix, Parish and Cleveland and towns of Scriba and Redfield).

According to the plan, closing the four stations within an 18-month period “will provide some measure of control in order to prepare (commercial waste) haulers for the anticipated increase in customers.”

The plan report was put together by Visser; county Administrator Philip Church; county Attorney Richard Mitchell; Solid Waste Operations Manager Mark Powell; Purchasing Director Daniel Stevens; Personnel Director Carol Alnut and Public Information Coordinator Janet West Clerkin.

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