Transfer station offers a whole new approach to garbage

"Kitsap County waste management personnel brought the Port of Bremerton's Board of Commissioners up to speed Feb. 13 on the status of a $10 million transfer station that could revolutionize the way garbage is handled in South Kitsap.Barney White Road in the Port of Bremerton's industrial park will be the site of the new transfer station, where locally created garbage will be collected and stored until it is smashed and compacted into a 30-ton brick and hauled away by train to landfills in eastern Washington and Oregon.Polly McNeil, a county waste manager, told port commissioners the landfills there are safer, more environmentally sound and have longer life spans, due in part to the lack of rain western parts of the states don't enjoy.Terry Bickle, operations manager for Kitsap County's waste management division, told port commissioners the transfer station will be the 10th built in the western United States - though it will be the first to have the rail line come right to it.The fact that a rail spur will be pulling right up to the transfer station will earn the port the recognition of being the first in the country where the waste goes directly onto the train without having to be trucked to a train stop first. This is a unique system. It's the first in the United States to go directly to rail, Bickle said. This will be a showcase to say, 'This is how it's done, folks.' While the primary purpose of the rail line will be to transfer garbage, McNeil noted the line also could be used to bring in goods for industrial park tenants. A lot of times, we could accommodate use for economic development for the region, she said.The county began pursuing the notion of a transfer station when it became apparent a landfill is not the best way to handle waste. In addition, the landfill is almost full. The Olympic View landfill is expected to close in mid-2002 as a result of litigation over odor. Recognizing the impending closure, the county prepared a solid waste management plan, McNeil said. The county thought there would be a need for a transfer station (for waste) to be exported for disposal.Everybody hired to work at the station, including construction workers, will be from the county, Bickle said. The transfer station is expected to operate six days a week and will likely employ a staff of 30 or 40 people.The station will be an enclosed, four-sided structure large enough to store a week's worth of garbage in case something should happen to the rail lines. The seagulls will finally go away, Bickle said.And, the landfills in eastern Washington and Oregon where the garbage will be transported do not pose the threat of reaching capacity any time soon. We would probably have to double the size of the county to overflow this. This is built for the future, Bickle said. "

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