Commissioners discuss solutions for transfer station

The aerial photograph was provided by BG Consultants and shows the proposed property for building the new transfer station, which is directly north of the existing facility. The commissioners were expected to discuss the land purchase in more detail at their Jan. 16 meeting.
The aerial photograph was provided by BG Consultants and shows the proposed property for building the new transfer station, which is directly north of the existing facility. The commissioners were expected to discuss the land purchase in more detail at their Jan. 16 meeting.
The Marion County Commission continued discussions with BG Consultants Jan. 11 about a new transfer station being built north of the current location.

But the final size of the facility, the estimated costs, the location and financing wouldn’t be completed until at least the Jan. 16 meeting.

Bruce Boettcher, engineer from Emporia, and David Devore, architect from Lawrence, both with BG Consultants, continued solidifying what the county needs are and answered questions.

“We are looking at what the best long-term design is (for the county),” Boettcher said on Monday. “And, we are gathering information on four different options.”

Commissioner Randy Dallke said that whatever size facility the county decides on, he cautioned that it wouldn’t be fair to compare current operations today with what he would expect from the new layout.

“Right now,” Dallke said, “I don’t think (transfer station employees) can back a truck in and out and pick up recycling every day.

“But, it’s something I might expect them to do if we have a new facility and trucks can unload and go right through.”

Of the three sizes that were discussed last Thursday, the commissioners by concensus, believed the 120 foot by 120 foot option was more than the county’s budget could afford or needed.

The two sizes commissioners agreed upon included the 80 foot by 100 foot and the 100 foot by 100 foot facility, along with some variations to include a 90 by 100 foot.

One drawback of downsizing from the 120 by 120 would be losing the turning around ability, Boettcher said.

“One thing that (employees) will see,” Dallke added, “will be the ease of it.

“I also think recycling has to have a slot. I don’t think it needs to sit on the floor for two to three days.”

Bud Druse, transfer station, recycling director, said that on Thursdays and Fridays it depends on what the city of Marion picks up and what his crews do every Tuesday and Friday at Goessel regarding recycling.

One of the issues Boettcher said he understood from the commissioners was about the public and recycling.

“Part of the impetus here was to keep the public off the tipping floor,” he said.

Some designs could include one slot for the public to drop off recycling or two slots for public and two for trash trucks or one large bay for commercial trucks.

Another thing that probably would change would be in having larger equipment on the floor to push into the pit.

“But, with the proper size facility, I’m thinking you can dump three trucks and never put any in the hole, and that’s what I would like to see,” Dallke said. “Just my opinion.”

Substantiating what Dallke said, Druse explained that three trash trucks regularly come in during a week from Florence, Marion and Hillsboro, and sometimes two of those trucks are waiting.

“Only two days out of the week do we have three trash trucks at a time,” Druse said.

“There are times we have roll off and two trash trucks after them.”

The roll off that comes in normally has construction and demolition waste, and could need to be separated out, he noted.

When that happens, Druse said his crew could hold up people for an hour at a time.

The commissioners also visited existing facilities or looked at photos and layouts in McPherson, Emporia, and Osage County.

Boettcher spoke about elevation differences from 12 foot to 17 foot. overhead doors, type of roof and bond election.

“The estimated project costs are to be determined Tuesday,” he said.

A long time coming

Boettcher said his firm has been talking with commissioners about improvements to the transfer station since early 2016.

Locations at one time included an area near the county’s south shop, an area north near the former Pizza Hut, and one north of the current facility.

The cost of a new facility, depending on size and elevation, could be between $3.5 and $4 million.

The commissioners also discussed at one time having a temporary building while the other was repaired at a cost of up to

$1.5 million, plus the cost of a temporary transfer station.

The floor and roof of the existing facility are in need of repairs and the roof leaking has been a problem since 2015.

The leaky roof was new to Dallke when Druse first mentioned that problem.

Commissioner Kent Becker said that in May he took a tour of the facility with Joe Vinduska, employed at the facility, and saw the floor flexing when trucks came in.

Earlier solutions included fixing the structural problems, but commissioners were concerned about future expansion needs.

One of the areas of expansion could be in recycling which is why the commissioners are looking at a new facility with room for growth in that area.

The existing transfer station formerly was the electric plant for the city of Marion, but in April of 2012, the county made its final payment of $2,581 on the building, which was from a 10-year bond issue.

The original cost of the transfer station was

$850,000, according to a Free Press article in 2002.