LOWVILLE — Lewis County solid waste efficiency is getting cleaned up through a summer construction project set to wrap in October.
Construction on the Solid Waste Transfer Station on Route 26 in the town of Lowville will involve an addition on the back of the existing building.
The new space will make waste drop-off safer for individual residents and decrease the potential for unintended harm by commercial haulers.
Residential customers currently walk into the facility with their garbage bags and dump them onto the same tipping floor as the trucks.
“It’s not an ideal situation,” especially from a safety perspective, County Manager Ryan Piche said.
After construction, there will be a separate commercial tipping floor shared by the recyclables tipping floor.
In addition to the new space being built, the facility will be transitioning to a 100-yard container dumping system from a 40-yard system requiring compaction of the large quantities of garbage into dense cubes.
“Basically the world has gotten away from that because of the energy it takes to compact like that all year round,” said Mr. Piche. “The cost is about $60,000 just for the energy.”
Once the new facility is operational, the trash will be pushed down from the new tipping floor and directly into open-top 100-yard containers for transportation directly to the Development Authority of New York’s landfill in Rodman without being compacted.
The amount of compacted garbage that fits into 40-yard containers is similar to the amount of uncompacted garbage it takes to fill a 100-yard container.
Right now, recyclables are dumped on a separate tipping floor and need to be brought around for loading into containers.
The new layout will have space for solid waste and recyclable dumping in different sections of the same floor with accessibility to both by the same loader for pushing the refuse into awaiting open-topped containers.
“It will be a lot more efficient,” Mr. Piche said. “Rather than the loader having to drive out and around through all the traffic to the garbage side to put it in the compactor, with residents in the path trying to dump their own garbage. (The new system) will be a lot safer and more efficient.”
To ensure there isn’t a lot of cross-contamination between the solid waste and recyclable sections of the tipping floors, a doorway wide enough for the loader but not for commercial vehicles will be between the two sections, Mr. Piche said.
Brooklyn-based CNS Construction will be doing the renovations at a cost of $1.3 million with an additional $500,000 for trailers, a loader and other equipment needed for the new container system.
Mr. Piche noted that, like with most counties, the solid waste facility is an “enterprise account,” meaning that its revenue pays for its costs and no taxpayer money — property or sales — is used for its expenses, including this project.
The county does not expect any service interruptions during construction but encourages residential and commercial customers to proceed with caution while using the site until the changes are complete.
Changes in site entrances and traffic patterns will be sign posted.