City Manager: transfer station is working better than expected

Published 6:25 pm Friday, August 1, 2014

Bainbridge city officials discussed the economics and saving potentials in a waste transfer station for almost 10 years before it became a reality.

That transfer station is now up and running, having completed construction early last month, and it’s operating just as planned, said City Manager Chris Hobby.

The station, located just off Highway 97, is helping cut down on the number of trips city vehicles take to the landfill in Campbellton, Florida, because the fleet of 11 garbage trucks are no longer having to make that two hour, 20 minute round-trip drive. Instead, the garbage trucks transfer their loads to two larger trailers that make the trip. The trailers average about 21 tons of trash per load.

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“In our analysis, we estimated that we would take 9.73 trips per week to the landfill on average. I think in the first week we took 11. The second week we took nine, so we’re about where we thought we would be,” Hobby said. “The round trips are taking less time than we thought they would. So far it looks like our analysis was pretty spot on that it will deliver the savings we thought it would, which is why we did.”

The use of the trailers has cut down the route time for drivers, and routes are being finished before 4 p.m. now, Hobby said.

There are still kinks to be worked out, but eventually the city plans to open the station for public access, allowing citizens to drop off larger trash, such as mattresses, for no charge as long as they have a Bainbridge City water bill. When this option becomes available, garbage trucks will no longer do special pickups for free.

“We want town to look better, and all that stuff piled on the road doesn’t look good. We think this is a way we can do that,” Hobby said.

The station currently does not have a process to divide and recycle some of the waste because it is a more expensive process.

“The cost recovery on the recyclables would not recover the cost of the separation, so we’re not there,” Hobby said. “We may eventually get there. That’s something on our radar, but we’re not there yet. The labor that would be involved would make it cost-prohibitive.”

The city of Bainbridge collects about 1,000 tons of trash per month on average, totaling about 12,000 tons a year.

Moisture is removed from the waste before loading onto the semi-trucks in order to make the loads lighter.

“The runoff is captured, goes into a pumping station and gets treated like regular sewage. It’s a very clean operation. The environmental impacts are none,” Hobby said.