By McKibben Jackinsky
Jack Maryott, solid waste director for the Kenai Peninsula Borough, summed up the progress to turn the Homer BFL, Baler Facility-Landfill, into a waste transfer site in six words.
“The project is right on schedule,” Maryott told the Homer News on Monday.
The two-phase project was begun in 2011, with the dirt work needed to prepare the site. The second phase, constructing a 9,000 square foot building to house the mechanical and electrical components of the transfer site, is currently underway, with work being done by Steiner’s North Star Construction of Homer.
“We are currently putting in all the concrete walls and tunnels and the tipping floor. Basically the foundation for the (transfer) building is in place,” said Maryott.
Located at mile 169.3 on the Sterling Highway, the site opened in 1979 as a landfill and was converted to a baling-landfill facility in 1983. It encompasses about 90 acres, including 15-18 acres used for landfill activities. It operates under an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation solid waste disposal permit that expires on Aug. 6. Legislative funding in the amount of $8,998,000 was appropriated in June 2011 to turn it into a transfer site.
Serving the southern Kenai Peninsula from Anchor Point south, the BFL currently accepts municipal solid waste, construction-demolition and land clearing waste, wastewater treatment plant sludges, junk vehicles and recyclables for an annual total of 8,000 tons.
Waste is deposited into a building where it is screened for hazardous wastes and materials not allowed for disposal prior to being moved by conveyor belt to a baler pit. There, the waste is compacted into bales (cubes measuring about 2.5 feet-by-3.5-feet-by-4.5 feet) weighing about one ton.
The bales are then stacked and buried in the landfill.
Recycling materials also are collected at the HBFL. Included are No. 1 and No. 2 plastics, aluminum cans, container glass, corrugated cardboard, mixed paper, plastic bags, plastic film and scrap metal. The solid waste baler compacts the recyclables, except for glass, and transports them to RockTenn in Anchorage. Glass is used in the landfill’s roads.
The steel frame for the transfer building is due to arrive the middle of this month. Construction is due to be completed by the end of June. In August, transferring of municipal solid waste from the new building to the Central Peninsula will begin. Waste will be deposited in the transfer building, where it will be compacted to allow for maximum hauling capacity and with an eye on maximum weight limits for the highway. After being compacted, it will be moved into a 120-cubic-yard transfer trailer the typical size of semi-trailer. Maryott anticipates the transfer from Homer to the central peninsula being done two trailers at a time.
“The total estimate is approximately 300 trailers a year. That obviously goes up in the summer and down in the winter,” he said
The Homer site will continue to collect inert waste and recyclables. Inert waste refers to construction demolition materials.
“As far as operationally, we don’t anticipate any change in service at all,” said Maryott.
The facility is operated with a staff of four full-time borough employees and one temporary employee as needed.
“The borough is currently looking at potentially how the facility will be operated, contracted out or run by borough employees,” said Maryott. “The typical borough model, like the Seward transfer facility, is run by contractors.”
A plan for closing the existing landfill operation is “underway as we speak,” said Maryott. “It involves putting an impermeable cap on top of it. That will mitigate any precipitation leaching down through the trash.”
That final part of the project is scheduled for summer 2014.
The Homer BFL is open from 8 a.m.-5:45 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon-4 p.m. Sunday, closed New Year’s Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at email@example.com.