Nevada County’s garbage dump isn’t going anywhere.
The Nevada County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a resolution to keep the McCourtney Road Transfer Station at its current location.
The board considered either relocating the transfer station that serves much of western Nevada County to the Bear River Mills site, south of Grass Valley, or performing a comprehensive upgrade to the current station, located at the intersection of McCourtney and Wolf Mountain roads.
The current transfer station is fraught with inadequacies relating to capacity, layout and efficiency, said Steve Castleberry, director of the Public Works Department.
“We have one scale and 110,000 users per year,” said Bob Elder, Nevada County Solid Waste Division program manager. “The math doesn’t work.”
In May 2011, Nevada County entered into a 20-year contract with Waste Management that granted the Houston-based waste services company the exclusive trash collection and hauling rights in exchange for cost reductions that were passed on to ratepayers.
The contract stipulated Waste Management pledge $5.6 million toward either relocation or an upgrade.
Since, the Nevada County Hazardous Waste Commission has explored alternative sites, partially as a way to mitigate the chorus of complaints from residents living next to the transfer station.
Supervisors Hank Weston and Nate Beason acknowledged they have received several phone calls asking the county to address excessive noise and dust from the site.
However, board members recoiled at the estimated $35 million relocation price tag.
“I am certainly in favor of not transferring the transfer station … because of the cost involved,” Beason said.
Instead, Beason advocated spending the $5.6 million to add two scales and reconfigure the station to sort out traffic conflicts within the site that leads to periodic backups onto Wolf Mountain Road during busy times.
Castleberry and Elder outlined another option: spending about $6 million to $15 million to enclose the transfer station, as a means of appeasing disgruntled neighbors with reductions in noise and dust.
Once again, cost was raised as a potential impediment.
Any dollar amount in excess of the $5.6 million pledged by Waste Management will have to be made up by ratepayers.
“One of the ways we sold … this contract with Waste Management was that it was going to be more efficient and that it was going to save (ratepayers) money,” Beason said. “The bottom line is if I am John Q. Citizen, what is the perceived benefit (of enclosure) to me?”
Weston said enclosure would not only address the “antagonism of the neighbors” but enable the grinding of green waste on site, which could provide a universal long-term cost benefit.
Ultimately, the board adopted a resolution keeping the transfer station at its current location, while directing staff to conduct a cost-benefit analysis of a site overhaul that includes enclosure.
To contact Staff Writer Matthew Renda, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 530-477-4239.