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  • Writer's pictureRoger Sims, Journal Staff

Commission looks for temporary fixes for trash transfer station

Updated: Jul 10, 2023


Al Doan, second from left, discusses operation of the county's solid waste transfer station with commissioners Jim Johnson, from left, Danny McCullough and Jason Hightower on Monday. (Roger Sims/Linn County Journal)


By Roger Sims, Journal staff


PRESCOTT – With proposed changes to Linn County’s trash transfer station seriously under consideration by the Linn County Commission, the three commissioners moved the final portion of their regular weekly meeting, Monday, April 17, from the commission chamber in the courthouse annex in Mound City to the transfer station east of Prescott.


With the construction of a new building to handle solid waste under consideration, commissioners discussed what needed to be done to the current building to keep it in operation. And while commissioners decided to get a bid on some repairs to the building, their discussion posed more questions than answers.


The commission is considering a reworking of the current transfer station to allow larger "walking" trailers to be used to haul trash to an out-of-county landfill.


The floor and the roof of the transfer station, a building approximately 30 feet by 40 feet, are aging but functional. The walls, on the other hand, have been damaged and need to be repaired or replaced, and that includes structural steel that has been damaged by equipment used at the station.


Commissioners had a $25,000 estimate from J.R. Kerr with JRK Portable Welding in Mound City that included repairs to the concrete walls at the back of the building, repairing structural steel that was damaged and replace damaged metal siding and refasten siding not yet damaged.


However, Commission Chair Danny McCullough was firm in his belief that the commission should order minimal repairs until a new transfer station should be built. He asked if a stopgap repair could be made for about half as much.


Commissioners discussed options with Kerr, who promised to give them an estimate on a scaled back repair. That would still include repair of I-beams supporting the structure.


Kerr also discussed building a new compactor roll-off container and repairing existing containers. For those familiar with the compactor sites around the county, the container is fastened to a machine with a hydraulic ram that compacts the trash into the container.


The container can then be transported by a truck with roll-off equipment to the transfer station.

An aerial view of the current solid waste management site near Prescott.


Al Doan, solid waste director for the county, said that of the 14 containers his department has, five or six are in need of repair. However, to take one of them out of rotation for repairs could cause a shutdown at one of the compactor sites.


He said that if he had another container, it would be easier to have one at the transfer site for repairs.


Kerr said his company could build a container to county specifications. When asked if he could build one for the going rate of about $7,000, he said that price has increased to around $10,000.


However, while Doan said the wait time on a new container from a shop in Kansas City was about six months, Kerr said his company could build it considerably faster.


As far as repairs are concerned, Kerr said his mobile equipment could make repairs at the transfer station. He said that he could bid on the repairs on a container-by-container basis, however, he also said that someone else would have to be responsible for power-washing the inside of the container before his company could repair it.


Commissioners also discussed whether they should be looking at county-owned property across the road from the transfer station to begin new cells to contain construction and demolition material there or go with an alternative of increasing the height of existing cells.


Raising the height of the cells would only last about three or four years before a new cell would need to be opened across the road, according to Commissioner Jim Johnson, adding that the county needed to start work on an alternative. He also said going east of the present cells was a possibility.


Doan said it would likely take about a year to open a new cell.

West suggested the county should contact Terracon Consultants Inc., an Olathe firm that previously worked on the design of the landfill, about any plans for expansion.


In other discussion about the county’s solid waste system, the commissioners:

  • Learned from Jessica Hightower, assistant public works administrator, that the county has applied for a grant to purchase a tire-cutting machine for about $8,000. With the machine, the county crew would be able chop up the tires and dispose of them on site for a cost savings.

  • Discussed changing the traffic pattern in and out of the landfill and whether or not the change would affect the testing wells located around the former landfill.

  • Learned from Doan that both a truck for local hauling and an over-the-road truck needed to be replaced.

  • Agreed with a suggestion by Commissioner Jason Hightower that the controls for operating the hydraulic compactor ram in the transfer station building be relocated. Currently, the button to start the compactor is located close enough that the operator is in danger of having hazardous material splash on him.


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