Derry’s new transfer station, expected to be open to the public in early 2016, should be both an environmental and economic benefit to the community.
Michael Fowler, Director of Public Works, gave an update on the project at the April 15 Planning Board meeting.
Fowler gave a brief history of the project, noting that the current complex was “antiquated” and needed an update. The Town Council of 2012 authorized bonding for $3 million to update the facility. Transfer Station Director Joanie Cornetta, Fowler and other staff members researched their options, made field trips and came up with a plan for Derry.
“We determined,” Fowler said, “that the best bang for our buck would be a new facility 300 feet west of the old one.”
Currently, Fowler said, the department practices “co-mingling,” which means that people come in and drop all their recyclables in one spot. “In the new facility they will be separate,” he explained.
Fowler said one of the main goals, when they pitched the new facility to the Council, was the idea of being able to separate the materials.
Co-mingling brings no revenue, he explained, while separating out the items allows for resale at a profit.
“This will give us more flexibility,” Fowler said.
The 20,000-square-foot building will have a west side devoted to customer drop-off, an east side devoted to operations and the loading docks, and a south side with an office area. The pre-constructed steel building will be red, to match the Department of Public Works buildings in the complex, and the roof will have a 1/12 pitch, with the sheet flow going east to a detention pond.
The new facility will have more parking spaces and a better layout, Fowler said, noting that sometimes on Saturdays it can get “uncomfortable.” The new arrangement will have 38 head-on parking spaces and the traffic flow will circle back out Recycling Boulevard, he said.
The plans include using the old “commingled” area for brush disposal and putting construction/demolition debris in the old building, according to Fowler.
In addition, Fowler said, a “baler” will be located inside the main building.
The building will be constructed by Hutter Construction on a design/build basis, Fowler said.
Fowler said he is still waiting for two permits from the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services (DES), the “alteration of terrain” permit and the Type 3 Modification permit.
In the question and answer portion, Vice-Chair John O’Connor asked Fowler about leaching. Fowler said the building will have floor drains, a “best practices” feature recommended by DES. The storm detention pond will also provide filtration, he said.
Member Jan Choiniere wondered about the change from co-mingling, noting that “everybody is going single-stream today.”
Fowler said that was true at one point, and communities favored single-stream because it was simpler. But when the commodities market “took a dive,” it began to become profitable to sell recyclables, he said.
“We could add up to $150,000 to the town general fund by selling our recyclables,” he pointed out.
Choiniere asked how much separation would be required, i.e. separating brown glass from green or clear. Fowler said the current plan called for separating glass from plastic, but no further distinction. However, he added, it pays to be flexible. “If Joanie stumbles on someone who’s paying well for green glass, we’ll be ready,” he said.
Board member Michael Fairbanks asked whether the revenue stream would pay for the bond.
Fowler said it would, noting that there is currently a stable market for aluminum and plastic.
Fairbanks warned that Fowler would have to educate people about the new system and Fowler said he planned to work with Go Green and the Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee to get the word out.
“There will be a few hiccups in the transition,” he said.
O’Connor asked about aluminum, and Fowler said communities could get a higher price for aluminum if it were baled. “Without baling, it brings about $400 a ton,” he said. With baling, which the new facility will offer, he expects it to bring $1,200 a ton.
O’Connor also asked about composting, and Fowler said he and Cornetta had talked about it. “We could split a bunker, and have half of it regular trash and half of it organics,” he said, adding that “If we do that, we would have to move it out of there pretty fast.”
In response to a question from Chairman David Granese, Fowler said he didn’t plan to offer recycling bins at this point but would consider it if he could get a grant for 50 percent of the cost.
“Our goal is to finish construction in November 2015 and open to the public in January 2016,” he concluded.