Homer Alaska - News

Story last updated at 9:00 PM on Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Plans for landfill moving forward

Borough seeks public opinions in Feb. 25 meeting

By McKibben Jackinsky
Staff Writer

A $291,000 appropriation got the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly's blessing Feb. 1. That's another step forward in the process to turn the Homer Baling and Landfill Facility into the Homer Transfer Facility.

Enactment of Ordinance 2010-19-28 provides funding to complete the new transfer facility design and construction cost estimate. Currently, it is estimated the project may run as high as $12 million.

"This will allow us to get bid-ready documents and we'll have very good estimates in terms of the cost of the project," said Borough Mayor Dave Carey.

The landfill opened in 1979 and was converted to a baling-landfill facility in 1983. The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation permit allowing burial of household waste, technically referred to as municipal solid waste, expires in August 2013. Plans call for transferring household waste to the Central Peninsula Landfill in Soldotna, as is currently done with waste from Seward and the Kenai-Nikiski area. Inert waste, including construction-demolition and landscaping debris, would continue to be accepted in Homer.

The bids were due back to the borough by 4 p.m. Wednesday.

"We won't have them under contract until the end of the month," Jack Maryott, the borough's solid waste director, said of the successful bidder. Work outlined in the bid is to be completed 150 days after the selected bidder has received notice to proceed.

While that work is being completed, Maryott will hold a public meeting on the landfill at Homer City Hall, from 5:30-7 p.m. Feb. 25.

"The solid waste department is putting on a presentation and then it's primarily information gathering, for us to provide the public with an opportunity to express their concerns, issues and input regarding the transfer facility," said Maryott.

Although future public meetings may be scheduled, Maryott urged users of the landfill to make their concerns known, especially in regard to the expansion of recycling opportunities, composting and related topics.

With the Homer Transfer Facility the borough's number one priority, the need for project funding is a message being carried to Juneau this week by members of the assembly, including Bill Smith, who represents the city of Homer, and Mako Haggerty, who represents the southern peninsula with the exception of Homer.

"The meaning of No. 1 and No. 2 priorities is that if the legislators have only a certain amount of funding to deal with, they want to know where the priorities are so they can apply the funding they have available," said Smith. The borough's second priority is a pipeline to bring natural gas from Anchor Point to Homer and Kachemak City.

Smith met with a group of individuals recently to discuss composting and other landfill-related issues.

"The whole idea is that people are trying to figure out how to reduce the amount of waste that has to be landfilled," said Smith.

One of the topics discussed was looking to waste management needs of the future and "trying to start to work now to find a site for a more local landfill because, you know, we can't go on forever hauling stuff up to the central peninsula," said Smith. "The current concept is that it would have to be toward Anchor Point if there was another landfill developed in this area. I've asked the mayor in his administration planning for long-term to try to identify potential sites."

Like Maryott, Haggerty encouraged attendance at the Feb. 25 meeting.

"The plans will still be in a stage that changes and modifications can be made," said Haggerty. "So, if there's consensus for anything in particular that (the public) wants from the borough, now's the time to let the borough know."

McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at mckibben.jackinsky@homernews.com.