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New transfer station saves money, reduces city’s carbon footprint

Date: 11/8/2013

By G. Michael Dobbs

HOLYOKE – The new trash transfer station may not be glamorous but it will save the city of Holyoke at least $20,000 a year as well as eliminate carbon from the atmosphere.

Mayor Alex Morse and members of the City Council were among the guests at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the facility operated by UWM Holdings at 686 Main St.

The project has been planned for years and Morse said that when he came into office his administration made the effort to assist the developer to complete it. He said it has been “a long and arduous process” for the owners to receive the approvals and permits to construct the station.

Morse said the transfer station means “new jobs, new construction and an annual savings.”

Scott Lemay, one of the owners of the facility, described how Holyoke’s trash trucks would unload their collections at the facility where it will be repacked into larger trailer to be brought to a landfill. This procedure cuts down on the number of trips it takes to bring the trash to its destination and save fuel.

He noted that when the planning for the station began there were four open landfills in the immediate area and now there is only one left open. Communities, he explained, have to transport its trash farther for treatment. A city such as Holyoke that does not have a landfill or incinerator has become “an export market,” Lemay added.

The correct disposal of trash is now “a considerable economic and social burden on a community,” Lemay said.

The station has the capacity to use rail as well as tractor-trailers to send the trash to where it can be disposed.

Lemay called the facility “state-of-the-art” by noting the huge vacuums along the way where the trash is dumped and then repacked. To eliminate odors those vacuums are continuously sucking the air in the station through a filtration system before it goes outside. The doors are also designed to quickly open and close to control odors.

He added the staff of the station has all been trained in asbestos abatement to remove hazardous materials from the waste stream and each truck goes through a detection system to discover any radiation.

“The bottom line is that Holyoke solved a major issue that confronted the city. Instead of increasing its costs, Holyoke can actually save money while generating revenue and jobs. I am happy to be part of the Holyoke community and hope the revenue stream can help its people move forward,” Lemay said.