City plans garbage transfer station

Published 8:13 pm Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The City of Bainbridge hopes to save big on fuel by constructing a garbage transfer station, which will reduce the number of times city garbage trucks have to go to the county landfill each month.

Building a transfer station is an idea that city officials had discussed since 2005, even before gas prices skyrocketed after Hurricane Katrina and the economic recession. Then and now, the idea behind the transfer station is to reduce the cost of transporting the city’s garbage to the county landfill. The Decatur County Solid Waste Facility is located off U.S. 27 South near the Georgia/Florida border, a distance of about 17 miles, or 34 miles round-trip.

During any given week, Bainbridge Public Services operates between three to five garbage trucks to pick up residential and commercial trash, Public Works Director Al Kelley said. Once full, those trucks currently have to make dozens of trips each month to the landfill.

In 2005, the City of Bainbridge temporarily had to  place a hold on building condemnations and began taking commercial garbage to Seminole County during the time the old Decatur County landfill off Fowlstown Road was reaching the end of its life and the U.S. 27 South landfill had not yet opened.

Although the City Council considered building a transfer station to make it through the county’s landfill transition, it didn’t prove necessary and city officials’ research concluded that cost savings could be achieved by buying a new garbage truck and reducing the number of weekly garbage pickups from two to just one.

Public Services is currently operating a temporary transfer station on city-owned land off Avenue C in southern Bainbridge. Only material from “special pickups”—furniture and other items that don’t fit in trash cans—is being taken there at the present time, Public Works Director Al Kelley said at Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Kelley said the city has sent out a request for bids on a permanent transfer station, with an estimated cost of about $200,000, where household garbage could be taken and compacted before going to its final destination at the county landfill.

With diesel fuel prices currently more than $4 per gallon, utilizing a garbage transfer station would save $150,000 or more each year, Public Services Director Steve Winburn told the council.