Limits lifted at McCourtney Road Transfer Station
The McCourtney Road Transfer Station will return Wednesday to normal operating hours, lifting vehicle count restrictions imposed last week and instead requiring people to wear face coverings at the Waste Management facility.
The facility started limiting service to just the first 200 vehicles last Wednesday before announcing the reversal Friday following swift customer backlash, which included skirmishes with transfer station employees.
“People were getting in staff’s face, yelling and not being nice,” said David Garcia, Nevada County solid waste program manager. “We’re hoping that the public is going to be patient, they’re going to be courteous and they’re going to be wearing masks and maintaining social distancing.”
According to Garcia, the station will now equip employees with personal protection equipment and construct shielding that will allow them to open all 12 trash bays and alleviate some of the traffic congestion, worries about access and hopefully the frustration.
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As part of COVID-19 safety measures, the facility previously closed half its trash bays and services that require close contact with the public like metal recycling, household hazardous waste and California Redemption Value buyback program. Despite limiting its services to just trash, co-mingled recycling, and green waste, the station started receiving heavier than normal traffic, averaging up to 500 cars a day, which led to the 200-car limit.
However, rather than discourage traffic, people complained of backups, dangerous driving and illegal dumping along McCourtney Road.
“We’re hoping that because there is no time or vehicle count, customers will not rush the station as they have been the last week,” Garcia said, adding that now customers won’t need to line up at 7 a.m. anymore. “But if everyone shows up at the same time, we will still have issues. We don’t want what happened at grocery stores with toilet paper to happen at the transfer station.”
Local resident Lisa Xenovia went to the station this weekend hoping to dump trash because she doesn’t have curbside service, but was turned away around 9:30 a.m. when the facility reached its 200-car limit. She said she had been trying for a few days.
“I seen that as an inconvenience at the minute, but now I think overall it might be a good thing for us. I think it’s cool to show respect and set boundaries,” Xenovia said Monday. “It’s not such a bad thing. Maybe it’s one way to make America great again, because people won’t be over-consuming and they won’t be putting more stuff in the earth.”
Xenovia said that she’s gotten used to social distancing since the pandemic outbreak, and was beginning to adapt her behavior to not being able throw out trash as frequently by using less plastic and creatively re-using things.
“I don’t consume so much because I don’t have the luxury of curbside service,” she said. “It’s forced me rethink my approach to consumerism.”
Officials are asking residents to only use the station for disposing of essential items such as household trash, green waste, construction and demolition debris or co-mingled recycling.
The transfer station will also begin to accept furniture but not appliances.
While past attempts to get the public to limit use of the transfer station has resulted in the opposite, Garcia stressed the importance of maintaining social distancing and other safety measure if they do need to visit the station, noting how disastrous a potential outbreak at the western Nevada County hub could be.
Garcia also implored the public to not argue with staff, which could also increase risk of spreading COVID-19.
“Ordinarily that’s just bad behavior, but right now that’s dangerous behavior,” he said.
To contact Staff Writer John Orona, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 530-477-4229.
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