County, city of Marion review building options for new transfer station

The Marion County Board of Commissioners and the Marion City Council met Monday night to review building options available for a new transfer station, and gathering facts from each other to decide the best option overall.

City Administrator Roger Holter said the city has lots available behind the county transfer station, 320 W. Santa Fe, Marion.

Commissioner Dianne Novak said she, Commission Chair Randy Dallke and Commissioner Kent Becker want to look at lots in proximity to the transfer station so they can avoid building on such a small area.

“This meeting was to gather information from the city and presenting information from the county,” Novak said.

Bruce Boettcher, a professional engineer, and David Devore, AIA, with BG Consultants presenting a slide show about the options regarding the transfer station.

Boettcher talked about the existing facility and what’s accepted at the transfer station from cities in Marion County.

In addition, he spoke about the evaluation of building a new facility in the north location, which is near the former Pizza Hut building, the south location, which is near the county’s south shop and projected costs.

Boettcher said a steel frame facility would need to be built temporarily to house transfer station operation, and then the county needs to decide whether to rehabilitate the existing building or plan for a long-term facility.

“It would take about two years at a cost of $3.5-$4.0 million for a new facility if the existing solid waste transfer station’s life is prolonged,” he said.

Should the county go with a temporary facility, he said, the minimal temporary building and existing fix would take two to three years and cost $1.0 to $1.5 million.

From the temporary building, another option could be in turning that facility into a higher functioning temporary building and not fix the existing structure at a cost of $1.5 or plan a long-term facility at $3.5 million or higher.

If the decision is a new facility north of the existing transfer station, Boettcher said, the following obstacles would include:

• land availability and the cost,

• zoning, city and Kansas Department of Health and Environment permits,

• schedule, and

project costs and long-term use of the facility.

Other issues in the above scenario would include:

• requesting to perform geology at site,

• gravel roadway surfacing,

• past environmental evaluations,

• a comprehensive plan and existing utilities.

“This is the first time the city has heard about these options,” Novak said.

“The county has three options available near the current transfer station, and the north and south sites.”

About two months ago, Becker took a tour of the current facility and saw the “flexing” that goes on when trucks come in.

Four months ago, the commissioners said the transfer station would need to be discussed someday soon, and Dallke said if this wasn’t discussed soon he believed the floor would give out from that “flexing” Becker mentioned.

One of the reasons the commissioners see the urgency is because it could take two to three years to get a new facility up and operating.

One of the earlier options was to have a temporary building to “dump the trash,” but BG consultants is looking at other more suitable options.

In early summer, Dallke said he was concerned about doing a $500,000 fix on a building that in the future might not meet the needs of the community.

At that time, Holter said the city has land available for building, which is 21⁄2 times as large as the present location.

“It would also offer greater flexibility without relocating the scale system.

Another option previously talked about was that all cities in Marion County be required to haul their own trash to McPherson or Butler counties.

According to Bud Druse, director of the transfer station and recycling, the county would need permission from KDHE to do that.

“Right now only Marion County is able to haul trash from here to the landfill,” he said.

Becker echoed the need for urgency at that time, too, saying that whatever the county does, time is of the essence..

Boettcher complimented the commission by saying he was glad to know the county is looking at a long-term solution to this problem, and isn’t so worried about the costs.