City discusses single-stream recycling

A pile of recycled material sits behind the Jefferson County Recycling & Waste Management plant. Watertown Daily Times

WATERTOWN — Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith is working on a plan to make it easier for city residents to recycle.

The city would provide single-stream recycling through the Development Authority of the North Country.

Working with DANC, the mayor hopes residents won’t have to separate recyclables into different plastic bins anymore.

“It’s a lot easier for city residents,” he said.

The city residents’ recyclables would be taken to the Harrisville Regional Recycling Transfer Station, which opened at 8023 Washington St., in April.

Mayor Smith hopes the arrangement with DANC can be worked out so recyclables would start being trucked to the Harrisville facility in May.

Single-stream recycling for city residents has been the topic of conversation for years. It’s also been a longtime goal for Mayor Smith which stretches back to when he was a member of the City Council almost a decade ago.

The mayor has been talking to DANC officials about it for several months, he said.

On Tuesday, Laurie A. Marr, DANC’s spokesperson, confirmed DANC officials and the city have had “preliminary discussions” about the arrangement, “but nothing has been finalized.”

The mayor said city Department of Public Works employees would truck residents’ recyclables to the Harrisville Regional Transfer Station.

After being brought to the Harrisville center to be compacted, they would be loaded on trucks and hauled to single-stream recycling facilities in the Syracuse area for processing.

“It’s much more efficient for city workers and much more efficient for city residents,” Mayor Smith said.

Recyclables, along with city refuse, are now taken several times a week to Jefferson County’s recycling transfer station on Route 12 in Pamelia, compared to possibly one or two times a week at the DANC transfer station.

The city’s recycling trucks collect recyclables every other week from people’s homes, totaling 500 tons annually.

Mayor Smith thinks the city will be able to save money by “directly trucking” it to the DANC facility in Harrisville.

Public Works Superintendent Patrick Keenan said the city still has to figure out the finances of it and how to get refuse to the landfill.

The city would have to consider purchasing some equipment and whether additional employees would need to be hired, he said.

“We’re looking at all the pieces of the puzzle and how to do it efficiently,” he said.

The city is “fine tuning” the numbers to see if it can be worked out with DANC, Mr. Keenan said.

“We’re looking at all the costs and options. It’s a work in progress,” he said.

Earlier this week, Scott A. Gray, chairman of the Jefferson County Board of Legislators, said Mayor Smith told him about the city’s plans several months ago, so the county would have a heads up before it approved its budget. He has not heard from Mayor Smith since.

St. Lawrence County takes its recyclables to the DANC facility.

DANC purchased the Harrisville property in 2018 from the Lewis County Industrial Development Agency, which had acquired it through back taxes.

The property, formerly known as Harrisville Dry Kilns, had been vacant since 2013.

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Johnson Newspapers 7.1

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