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New $2.9 million transfer station opens

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By Jeff M. Hardison

BRONSON - Levy County taxpayers netted $300,000 in savings with the opening of a new transfer station at the landfill east of Bronson, according to information released March 4 at the County Commission meeting.

Project Manager Andrew Wellman of Peter Brown Construction said the close-out of this project reflects the saving and changes the $3.2 million project into a $2.9 million project.

Levy County transports 100 tons of garbage a day from its transfer station near Bronson to a landfill near Raiford, County Solid Waste Director Benny Jerrels said. The county is three or four years into a 17-year contract with New River Solid Waste, the landfill site near Raiford.

The multimillion waste transfer project came to fruition Tuesday afternoon, when the first loads of commercial garbage were transferred from garbage trucks to a big semi-tractor trailer.

Two Waste Pro garbage trucks dumped the first loads onto the cement floor. County Commissioner Tony Parker operated the Caterpillar Waste Hauler and used it to push the huge piles of garbage across the floor toward a hole that was exactly the size of the trailer for the semi. The garbage dropped into the trailer.

A compacting machine pushed the waste down into the trailer as a scale registered the weight. When the correct weight was reached, the semi was ready to take the waste to the landfill near Raiford.

Levy County Commission Chairman Sammy Yearty led the commissioners four years ago to begin this project, Jerrels said. With the advent of the new transfer station, it changes the procedure from before.

Yearty explained.

"We were using a recycle center as a transfer station before," Yearty said. "It was dangerous. There were more people needed and it was not as safe."

While the commercial garbage transfer system has changed, garbage from households will continue to go to the recycling building. There, inmates sort through the garbage and remove whatever recyclable material they can. Then the remainder of the garbage is loaded into a semi.

Meanwhile, commercial haulers and city garbage trucks take their loads to the big transfer station. This new operation reduces the manpower required and it is more efficient, Jerrels said.

Before, a semi would be filled and then weighed. Sometimes, material had to be removed to reduce the weight. Now, it is weighed while it is being filled.

Jerrels said the Levy County operation is a modification of what Alachua County uses. Andrew Carswell, an engineer with Mills Engineering, can take credit for this project. Combined with Carswell's efforts and the work of Peter Brown Construction, Jerrels said this was "a real good experience."

Beyond the $300,000 savings from project construction costs, Jerrels said Peter Brown Construction saved Levy County $45,000 from sales tax as a result of direct purchase orders made to seven different vendors.