TheRutabaga: Second Street becomes waste transfer station
Neighborhood development chief Jim Tolbert announced today that the section of Second Street SE beside the abandoned Landmark Hotel has become an RSWA-sponsored waste transfer station. The site, which is being called the Landmark Materials Transfer Facility, has actually been accepting construction and demolition debris, as well as careless source unseparated recyclables such as coffee cups and cigarette butts, since the Downtown Mall re-bricking project was completed earlier this year. Tolbert says the program has been a success so far.
"We've been full to capacity with trash and junk since June," says Tolbert. "Folks have really been happy to have a place so close to the Downtown Mall to dump crap."
Rivanna Solid Waste Authority director Tom Frederick is pleased with the program as well. Once every six months, he says, Allied Waste will come to the transfer site and transfer the trash to its transfer site at Zion Crossroads, which will then be transferred to the RSWA's Ivy transfer site, picked through by hand, then transferred by Waste Management back out to Van der Linde Recycling at Zion Crossroads, where it will be sorted and then transferred to Richmond for recycling and transfer to China.
"This program is consistent with our planning on the planning for the strategic plan, which calls for planning for a study that will outline future scenarios for the planning process with regard to recycling initiatives," said Frederick.
Asked what responsibilities the Authority will have in maintaining the site, Frederick said the Authority will handle payment to Allied, Waste Management, and the Authority, which will amount to about $5 million a year, and put a notice about it up on their website.
Downtown resident Kurt "mad dog" Burrows, who moved to a spot under the Belmont Bridge last year, says he's been using the conveniently located transfer station since it opened. And he doesn't care what it costs.
"I used to have to take my office paper recycling all the way down to the McIntire Recycling Center," said Burrows, who says he does not own a car, or shoes. "The Second Street station allows me to continue my commitment to quality recycling without getting blisters on my feet."
However, some critics feel the transfer site could become an expensive downtown eye-sore and stink pit.
"It's just terrible, really, just really, really terrible," says Woolen Mills resident Coxford Lynchman. "Do you like to look at trash on your 6am morning walk? I certain don't. Recycling reshmycling. Just another political buzzword. I save and reuse everything I own, never throw a thing out. If people did that, we wouldn't need this smelly, expensive thing."
But Tolbert says the site will not become a problem.
"We've discovered that when it rains the hotel skeleton becomes a kind of urban water fall, which ends up flushing much of the stagnant trash residue into the storm drain system and reducing odor," he says.
Asked what damage that might do to the local watershed, Tolbert joins many local citizens in deferring to Frederick, who also directs the Water Authority.
"We'll be seeking input on commissioning a study to study the effects of the Downtown trash transfer site on the water supply once the planning for the post-implementation study on the trash site feasibility is complete, which will be discussed..." said Frederick before a reporter hung up.
“TheRutabaga” is a relatively new and occasional feature satirizing items of local interest. (Here's the last one.)