Transformation of Homer landfill nears completion
Thirty years since the Kenai Peninsula Borough converted the Homer landfill to a baling-landfill facility, the site will undergo another conversion of sorts Aug. 1, with completion of a 9,000-square-foot building where household trash, referred to as municipal solid waste, will be placed into containers and compacted for hauling to the Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna.
The new building, constructed by Steiner’s North Star Construction of Homer, and dirt work, completed by North Star Paving of Soldotna, were completed in a two-phase project for approximately $10 million.
“It was well designed and is going to meet the needs of the community for a long time,” said Jack Maryott, the borough’s solid waste director, of the facility designed to accommodate Homer’s garbage for another 30 years. “It came in on budget and it is just a very nice facility for this community. The community should be very pleased.”
The design includes timed lighting.
“It will shut off when the facility is not open and it’s directional lighting, meaning it’s directed down,” said Maryott.
The project was an opportunity to design the new facility for and convert the existing building to natural gas. Until the gas can be turned on, the facility will operate on propane.
A 30,000-gallon water tank has allowed for a port that can be used by the Homer Volunteer Fire Department, if necessary. Maryott said an agreement has yet to be finalized.
Completion of the new building means the area currently used for municipal solid waste disposal will be used strictly as a recycling drop-off.
A new traffic pattern addresses the separate facilities (see related diagram, page 6). The same access from the Sterling Highway will be used. Traffic with recycling and household trash will be routed to recycling first and the waste transfer building second, before proceeding off site. Traffic with only household trash can bypass the recycling area and proceed directly to the waste transfer building.
Items left for salvage and reuse will be deposited at the recycling area. Deposits of construction and demolition debris, known as inert waste, will be directed to an area behind the recycling building.
The new transfer building has four large doors. Three accommodate two vehicles each; one is dedicated to commercial haulers.
Commercial haulers also will enter and exit through a separate entrance that is equipped with a scale to help the borough and the haulers track the amount of waste.
Beginning Aug. 1, operation of the Homer site will be done through a contract with D & L Construction of Cooper Landing, the lowest of three bidders that included Moore and Moore Services of Homer and Alaska Waste Connections, operator of the borough’s staffed transfer facilities at Kenai, Nikiski Sterling and Seward, as well as the borough’s unstaffed transfer sites. A borough contract administrator will make frequent visits to the Homer transfer facility with hours posted for the public.
Using a contractor to operate the facility results in a change for four full-time borough employees, each of them under a bargaining agreement. According to Stormy Brown, the borough’s human resources director, the employees can choose a lay-off or choose to “bump” any position within the borough for which they qualify.
“In the case that they’re more senior to someone, they can basically tap them on the shoulder and say they’d like that job,” said Brown.
Two of the Homer employees have chosen lay-off and two have selected bumping, however Brown said those decisions aren’t conclusive for another week.
Asked about the possibility of additional recycling opportunities that might be included in the future, Maryott said, “The borough has the ability to add on other recycling. (The contractor) would take instruction from us. It’s written into the contract. If we want him to increase recycling, he’s required to do that.”
The final report regarding the possibility of composting is due within the next two or three weeks.
“One of the biggest challenges is finding enough carbon, woody waste,” said Maryott of a necessary component for composting.
In addition to Homer, the waste transfer site collects trash and recycling from Anchor Point and McNeil Canyon for an annual total of 8,000 tons of trash and 328 tons of recycling, including aluminum, cardboard, miscellaneous paper, plastics and vehicles. Using those numbers, Maryott anticipates an average of one trailer every day or a set of trailers every other day to transfer waste from Homer to the Central Peninsula Landfill.
Closure of the Homer landfill is scheduled for summer of 2014. No household waste will be deposited in it as of Aug. 1. It is anticipated that designated areas of the landfill will accommodate disposal of construction and demolition debris for the next 25-30 years.
The Homer Transfer Facility is open Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m.-5:45 p.m., and Sunday from noon-4 p.m.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Homer Transfer Facility
Hours are not changing.
8 a.m.-5:45 p.m.
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