China transfer station committee reviews five-year plan

by Mary Grow

China Transfer Station Committee members went over the five-year plan for the facility at their Dec. 20 meeting, planning to collect price estimates and present the select board with a prioritized list during 2023-24 budget discussions in January and February.

Items on the current list include:

  • A new metal waste container, so that mattresses can be stored in what transfer station supervisor Thomas Maraggio described as a “shaky” old one and the new one used for heavier items. The goal is to keep mattresses from getting soaked in rain and snow before they’re shipped off for disposal – a high priority for committee chair Paul Lucas, because, he said, adding water triples the shipping cost. Maraggio said he has one bid and is waiting for more.
  • A cover for the new pre-crusher – Maraggio is seeking prices.
  • A water filter, so that transfer station employees will not have to put up with water that Director of Public Services Shawn Reed called “unfriendly:” not dangerous, according to test results, but with a bad smell from contaminants from the closed landfill close by.
  • Power and lights for the free for the taking building, a proposal building manager Karen Hatch enthusiastically supported. Palermo committee member Chris Diesch suggested solar power; Maraggio said he will check into possible grants.
  • Trading in the golf cart, which Maraggio said is unusable in winter, for a Gator utility vehicle.
  • Removal of the wind-damaged canopy at the recycling center.
  • A cement pad for compost, a spring project, also possibly grant-eligible.
  • Paving the road behind the recycling building so trucks can load more easily – perhaps to be done in conjunction with 2023 road paving.
  • Repainting crosswalks, another project that could be correlated with the town’s summer work.
  • Some kind of space for propane tank storage; another spring project, perhaps merely a fence, Maraggio suggested.

Farther in the future, Reed said, are a decision on whether to buy a new skid-steer or keep the old one running; and replacement of the main mixed waste hopper.

In addition to local needs, the other major topic Dec. 20 was the new state law that requires manufacturers to pay for disposal costs for some packaging, called the Extended Producer Responsibility law. Several of the group had attended an explanatory Department of Environmental Protection meeting.

Palermo committee member Robert Kurek said the idea of the law is to reimburse towns that opt into the program for recycling. However, he said, state officials haven’t yet decided what packaging materials are covered.

Lucas added that the initial state reporting forms will have to be reduced, because staff don’t have time to keep the records they would require.

There’s no big rush, he said; currently, reporting is scheduled for 2026 with the first
reimbursements in January 2027.

“We’ll keep our eye on it, and we’ll figure it out when the time comes,” he concluded.

In other business, Diesch had analyzed data from the RFID (Radio Frequency Identification) system that reads transfer station users’ tags and presented summaries showing busiest and least busy days and hours and other useful information.

A short discussion of abandoning the RFID tags and going back to stickers on vehicles led to postponing a decision.

Review of China’s solid waste ordinances was also postponed. Town Manager Rebecca Hapgood said any recommended ordinance changes need to go to the select board in March 2023 to get on the warrant for the June town business meeting.

Committee members scheduled their next meeting for 9 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 24, in the town office meeting room.


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