Homer’s new transfer facility building is up and running. Design and construction took about two-and-a-half years and cost roughly $10 million.
The 9,000 square-foot building is dedicated to household waste. The first thing you’ll notice when you drive into the transfer site is a sign with arrows pointing in two directions. One leads you to the new building and another to the old. Kenai Peninsula Borough Solid Waste Director Jack Maryott said there’s a reason for that.
“When people come to the facility, typically they came up and they were able to manage their household garbage and recycles in the same area. Now the difference being is if you just have household waste, you come directly to the transfer facility. If you have recyclables and household waste, there’s a traffic flow that directs you up to the recycle area to recycle first. Then you look around coming back into the transfer building,” he said.
He said anyone with salvage or reusable items to drop off as well as any construction or demolition materials can do that in the same spots. Maryott said there should be space for those items for the next 25 to 30 years.
As he was explaining how the trash is moved from Homer to the Central Peninsula Landfill, one of the workers inside the transfer facility jumped into a Bobcat and started pushing trash into two trailers hidden under the floor.
“The public comes in, they back into the building and they throw their waste in. He is… placing it into the trailer. There is a crane… that’s used to compact the waste to make it efficient. So we’re transporting as much waste as allowable per DOT regulations,” he said.
Maryott said he is anticipating one truckload per day to leave Homer. The transfer facility itself has four large doors with enough space for cars and commercial haulers. Maryott pointed out that keeping those two separated is for safety.
“At the old facility often times you would have a commercial truck immediately next to a public disposer. That’s not ideal. That’s actually far from ideal. Where this facility, there’s a definite designation between where the public dumps and where the commercial people dump,” he said.
The transfer site will remain borough-owned, but Maryott said a private contractor is on site to operate it daily.
“D&L Construction has previously has operated the Seward transfer facility. He also operated Kenai, Sterling and Nikiski. So he is familiar with this activity,” he said.
There had been four full-time borough employees on site before that change. Borough Mayor Mike Navarre had advocated for a private contractor as a way to save money. He anticipated a savings of around $250,000 annually if the borough didn’t run the Homer transfer site. But even with a private contractor, Maryott said there still will be a borough presence.
“They’re going to have a borough representative here on site on designated times. So when people want to talk to a borough solid waste staff person, they don’t have to go to Soldotna,” he said.
There will be no change in the hours: Monday through Saturday the site is open 8 a.m. until 5:45 p.m. On Sundays it’s open noon to 4 p.m.