Transfer station upgrade eyed

BAR HARBOR — A $2.1 million makeover of the transfer station is under consideration by town officials.

The new design would encompass separate residential and commercial trash dumping areas, expanded recycling and storage zones and a new parking lot for recycling customers. Two of the three buildings on the site would be torn down and reconstructed, while a third would be significantly enlarged.

The “draft master plan” for the transfer station has been in the works for several months. It was put together by engineers at CES Inc. and is meant to address several current challenges at the site, including traffic congestion, storm water contamination, odor and the blocking of White Spruce Road, the residential right of way that runs through the transfer station. The draft plan also calls for expansion of water service at the site to allow for better equipment cleanup and fire protection.

Town councilors heard a presentation on the draft master plan from Chris Snowdeal of CES on Tuesday, Jan. 20. No action was taken. The five-year capital improvement plan proposed in this year’s budget shows funding for the project beginning in fiscal year 2017, two years from now.

The transfer station, built in the 1970s, sits on 2.6 acres of land. During the busy summer months, two tractor trailers worth of trash are filled each day and hauled from the site. The trash eventually lands at the Penobscot Energy Recovery Center (PERC) in Orrington where it is burned to produce electricity.

Because of lack of space, there is no efficient method available for compacting waste at the transfer station. Because trailers are exposed to the elements, up to eight tons of water can collect in each trailer during a rainstorm.

CES is recommending building a new, 60-by-80 foot dumping facility on the location of the current one. The design would allow either four residential or two residential and one commercial vehicle to unload waste at the same time. It also would keep the trash trailer dry and allow for efficient compaction. Odor control elements are included in the design.

Under the proposed plan, the recycling building would be torn down. A 40-by-80 foot space for recycling would be added to the building currently used for storage. A one-way traffic flow around the facility would be implemented, and out-of-the-way parking installed. The new design would take vehicles unloading cardboard out of White Spruce Road and create smoother access for residents who are passing through.

Councilors seemed generally in agreement with the draft plan. Councilor Gary Friedmann, however, questioned whether the redesign should be considered now in light of the unknown future of PERC once state subsidy for the plant ends in 2018.

“I just don’t see how we can talk seriously about what our transfer station and recycling center is going to look like until we know what the municipal resource committees’s plan is [for disposing of trash past 2018],” Friedmann said.

Public works director Chip Reeves responded that regardless of what happens at PERC, the town is still going to have trash and recycling to deal with.

“The town of Bar Harbor’s tonnage and trash hasn’t changed drastically in 15 years. It’s not going to change drastically in 15 years,” he said.

Councilor David Bowden also questioned the plans, wondering if such upgrades were really necessary at this time when councilors also are considering millions of dollars of upgrades to the public safety building and other projects.

“I know it gets backed up every once in a while up there, but it moves quickly,” he said. “I just don’t see … four bays … there’s a lot of times I go to the dump, and I’m the only person there.”


Robert Levin

Robert Levin

Former reporter Robert Levin covered the people, businesses, governmental and nonprofit agencies of Bar Harbor. [email protected]
Robert Levin

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