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OPINION: Transfer Station — Forgotten, or Issue That Won't Go Away?

Chester Suchecki weighs in on the transfer station and the status of the issue in the city.

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Chester Suchecki.

Salem had an election last November and one of the major issues was the transfer station problem. Most of the candidates that were elected and the incumbents that were reelected were in favor of Northside Carting to take control of the land, tear down the old incinerator building and cap the ever-spreading ash pile and construct a state-of-the-art transfer facility. They also wanted to build a state-of-the-art recycling center for residents to drop off household waste products like TVs, batteries, paint, bottles, cans, yard waste etc.

So, now it is six months after the election and the city council is worried about fountains, parking meters or what kind of trees to put on Essex street. What happened to the transfer station? Do the people who live on the hill downwind of the place have to put up with another summer of dust and stink from the existing transfer station “or” does the city of Salem and the city council approve Northside Carting's plan for a new state-of-the-art transfer station and recycling center with an environmentally sound cap on the ash pile?

So what’s it going to be, Salem? Another lame duck city council or one that acts on campaign promises?

There is one other issue that goes along with this subject. That is truck traffic. How in the he77 [sic] can you tell the difference with all the traffic that goes up and down Swampscott Road and First Street? The road is the only cut across road from Swampscott to Peabody. I don’t know the vehicle count ,but it has to be in the tens of thousands. A few more trucks won't make a difference. A traffic light at First Street and the transfer station would be safer.

Salem is into the 21st century, but its waste system is still in the 60s. It's time this issue gets addressed, then there will be one less subject to gripe about.

Chester Suchecki

Salem Resident

michael beaulieu April 29, 2012 at 06:48 PM
Hey John salem is a dump.
john April 29, 2012 at 09:54 PM
Cwheels you should be careful what you are in favor of.If this goes through, trucks will be traveling in increased numbers all over Salem roads. The proposal does not provide for Salem only. If Northside should loose the contract for Salem they will still operate brining garbage from surrounding cities into salem only to be unloaded and reloaded before leaving Salem.No garbage can be left on site overnight so the truck traffic for one load becomes two on Salem roads.The impact is,traffic,smell.wear and tear on Salem roads as well as quality of life for neghbors. The last thing Salem needs is a garbage transfer station to bring down the value of our homes.You mention the idea of it being a gold mine.The city will not own it because the plan is to give it away. Be careful what you wish for.It will be a garbage gold mine for whoever gets it for free.Salem should clean it,sell it and expand the area as an industrial area like the rest of the road
Cwheels April 30, 2012 at 07:35 PM
"bringing garbage from surrounding cities into salem" Not really. With transfer stations all around no one is going out of their way to dump there. Cities and towns have contracts with incinerators at a reduced rate so municipal trash will not be brought in. The trucks dumping there will be trucks that are already in Salem servicing commercial customers, contractors and homeowners. In the waste industry there is no friendly competition, I would expect to see mostly Northside and Charles George trucks. I do agree about the wear and tear, our streets are hurting all ready. And the no trash left overnight thing is common place. Nobody empties out for the night, it just doesn't happen anywhere.
john April 30, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I think you are mistaken.IF approved they can take garbage from anywhere. They are not locked into a contract with Salem for curbside pickup, It's awarded by bid.If they build this transfer station,It's possible they could loose Salem's contract but still operate the station.They will have a limit on what they take in in tons and it can come from anywhere. Northside services many cities and towns.I am confused by your comment.Nothside wants to build a transfer station to unload and reload garbage before they take it to the incinerator.It's only a convience for them.
J. Burns April 30, 2012 at 09:05 PM
And KlassySalem, Councillor Siegel, ran for council and was elected by the voters Ward 3 to a large extent because of his opposition to the transfer station plan. It seems the voters in the Ward don't want it. The Mayor doesn't have the votes.
J. Burns April 30, 2012 at 09:18 PM
John, I agree! I've often thought that Salem, which has so much natural beauty, has purposely undermined it by allowing itself to become the "dump site" for other communities.
john April 30, 2012 at 09:52 PM
This issue is one that people really need to know ALL the details on.Think about the advantage Northside would have to low bid in surrounding communities with a transfer station in Salem. This could easily become the worst thing to happen to Salem and the residents ever. Truck after truck after truck flying up and down Highland Ave,the value of Traders Way condos go down along with the quality of life.
Cwheels April 30, 2012 at 10:50 PM
Yes I know what they want to do, what i'm saying is trash from other towns (curbside) will not be brought to Salem and be transferred. Towns have contracts with haulers like Northside and they also have contracts with dumps or in the case of north shore cites and towns incinerators like Wheelabrator or Covanta. Bring the waste directly to its end destination saves the cities huge $$ and it is built in to any contract a city enters into with a hauler. Salem should put a line in the sale agreement that lets us dump our trash there no matter the hauler we are using at the same rate the incinerator is offering.
john April 30, 2012 at 11:06 PM
We obviously have a differet understanding on this issue.All towns put contracts out to bid for curbside pickup. This issue has been hanging around for years and has no support from the council because it DOES NOT limit where the trash comes from.You also stated that garbage would be left on site overnight but that issue is part of the proposal. They cannot leave garbage on site overnight or they could be shut down.I also disagree that the city has a contract with the hauler and the incinerator.The city has a contract with hauler and the hauler has a contract with the incinerator. I believe Northside has a contract with Wheelabrator North Andover because most of the towns they serve are in that area.Insted of running every full truck to N Andover they want to fill trailers at Salem to cut down on their cost and move much more garbage.If they were planning on Salem only, they would not be looking for a hugh increase in volume per day.
chester suchecki April 30, 2012 at 11:34 PM
john just to set you strait. northside has its own transfer facility in north andover . at that facility they separate all the trash that is sent to its respective recycler ( metal , paper ,plastic , etc. ) the rest is sent to a incinerator on maine. the total recycled material in north andover is 89% with th remaining 11% going to the incinerater. before you say something john get it straight
john April 30, 2012 at 11:54 PM
I am going to go against my own promise and repond to Chester. First, don't think for one minute you can set me staight on anything. Second the recycle center in N Andover that Northside owns DOES NOT TAKE HOUSEHOLD GARBAGE. Is it even possible for you to see the difference? There is garbage and there is recycle,you can't recycle garbage. Get it?
chester suchecki May 01, 2012 at 01:33 AM
wrong again john
john May 01, 2012 at 07:04 PM
If you can offer some proof that I am wrong,I will buy you a bench at the new garbage dump!!
Cwheels May 01, 2012 at 09:34 PM
The Northside facility in N. Andover processes construction and demo. While there is a small amount of trash that gets mixed in it is sorted out during the recycling process. Yes demo is recycled. The nails, copper, steel and even the wood gets turned into things like pellets for stoves.
john May 01, 2012 at 11:49 PM
Thats correct. N Andover is a recycle facility and Salem would be a garbage transfer station.Big difference.Northside offered tours of N Andover to Salem residents?? Thats what I call deception.
chester suchecki May 05, 2012 at 05:56 PM
john the facikity in north andover is a regional recycle center for northside carting that has a 89% recycle rate with the other 11% goes to an incinerater in maine which uses the sterilized ash as a landfill subcap. so nothing really goes to waste.
john May 05, 2012 at 06:12 PM
Thats great but what does it have to do with transferring household garbage in Salem? Also in Salem,Northside unloads the recycle trucks at North Shore Recycled Fibers on Jefferson Ave.Why not unload the garbage at the incenerator near GE? This whole thing is about the garbage not the recycle and that is why I question why Northside wanted Salem residents to see N Andover. Apparently neither the recycle or garbage will go to N Andover and Salem would be a completley different operation.I also don't understand why they would take 11% to Maine when there is an incenerator right next door to the N Andover facility.None of it makes sense.
chester suchecki May 06, 2012 at 03:55 PM
jon did you ever collect scrap metal? you get enough of it and you take it to a scrap metal yard to sell it to them. they in turn sell all they have furtherup the recycle chain to get melted down and get reused. the same principle applies to the north andover recycle facility they just separate and sell the individual items ( metals ,wood, paper, drywall, plastics ) that are sifted out of housuehold trash. the trucks that go to north shore recycled fibers are taking the recycled stuff people put out in the blue recycle bins. this is a direct contract to a local buisness. this means local jobs. i hope that i have explained this process clearly if not go see robie george at the transfer station on saturdays starting in june.
chester suchecki May 06, 2012 at 04:01 PM
i forgot to add that the 11% that goes to maine is the garbge(food scrap and dirt) to be incinerated. the incinerator across the street from northside cartings recycling facility is owned by wheelabrator frye. ihave no other info on that incinerator.
john May 06, 2012 at 05:00 PM
This conversation has gone full circle and has com right back to the same concerns.The people of Salem do not want a garbage transfer station. The N Andover facility is not even remotely doing what is proposed for Salem.I have no problem with the recycle part it's mandadted by law. The question is very simple do the people of Salem want a garbage transfer station(unload and reload)in Salem? It only serves the trash companies that will use it rather than driving every full truck to where ever they currently unload.If you could get close enough to the actaul garbage at these incinerators (which i have) you would be shocked by the smell. The same process will take place in Salem except instaead of burninig it ,it will be loaded into another truck.The people don't want it and it has little support in the council.Also, N Andover does not take household trash,they take construction debris which may or may not contain paper or plastic.Salem's Paper and plastic goes to Nort Shore Recycle.They do not sort through garbage
Beverlie McSwiggin May 06, 2012 at 10:20 PM
North Andover Transfer Station Our facility is the most advanced commercial waste processing and construction and demolition recycling facility in North America. Their words not mine No mention of garbage
Cwheels May 06, 2012 at 11:05 PM
John, I think the intent of inviting folks from Salem to the N.Andover site was to give us an idea of the operation they are planning, yes I know different material but one can see they do run a pretty tight ship and can be a good neighbor. You say that you have gotten close enough to the trash at incinerators to smell it, how close would you say one would have to get? Why were you so close? You suggested Chester is a relative of R. George, perhaps you are a relative of one of their competitors. I wouldn't say that only the trash company's would win if the transfer station was expanded. It would bring more jobs and tax money right?
john May 07, 2012 at 12:11 AM
I understand the confusion.I worked for years for a company that made deliveries to Resco,Wheelabrator N Andover and Wheelabrator Millbury(next to Worchester) and I saw what the garbage drivers see every day. I have seen live rats come right out of the trucks.Those incinerators are located in very isolated areas for a reason.Again.you cannot compare a garbage transfer station to a recycle center. It is totaly different.My remarks about Chester were sarcastic but in response to the type of operation they would operate,I can only say look at the operation they are running in Salem. Trust me when I say the homes close to the site will smell the garbage. The only iron I have in the fire is to keep Salem from making a big mistake.As for jobs it would be very few as Northside trucks would still operate from N Andover. The city owns it now so regardless of what we do tax money may be a factor but an expanded industrial(non garbage) area would be a better fit.You have to ask yourself one question,If you lived in the condos off traders or anywhere along Highland Ave, would you want to live with this? You yourself said the objective should be to get the material to it's final destination in the most timely manner. This does not do that.For years most househould garbage goes directly to the end process(like it does currently in Salem) an incinerator.
Cwheels May 07, 2012 at 12:44 AM
I agree that we would be better off as city to see it developed in a different way. That said how do we get that ash heap capped? If and when we do can the site even be developed into some other use? It is zoned for a transfer station. Are there restrictions on building so close to something so toxic even after its capped? Your a good sport John, thanks for humoring me on the competitor thing. I don't have to trust you on the smell though, I'm around those same facilities all the time.
john May 07, 2012 at 01:15 AM
So if I understand you also have seen what I have.I am only looking for support for the people that will be dramaticly affected by this. When Salem needed to come up with $1 million for McGarh they did it.I live near the hospital,I wont see it or smell it but I will see a significant truck traffic increase on Highland Ave.It sounds like we have a similar experience with what the aveage person does not see and I respect your opinion on taxes but this is not a good fit.
chester suchecki May 07, 2012 at 03:32 PM
john mcgrath park was the city dump BEFORE INCINERATOR TRANSFER STATION WAS BUILT. all the city trash went there. it has nothing to do with the current problem. the trauck traffic at peak would be 26 trucks a day is in consequecial . read the study done by the state in 2007. its all there on the web john.
john May 07, 2012 at 04:08 PM
Last chance,the point about McGath was the money and how quick the city found it.You may think 26 trucks a day is no big deal because you wont see or hear any of them.That would be 26 in and 26 out and I am sure that number will increase .It;s about he garbage.They did a study on the parking meters too,I'm not into reading the study.
chester suchecki May 29, 2012 at 02:10 PM
john your honestly going to tell us that you are going to notice two more trucks an hour?
Mia Culpa August 15, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Very informative! I did a google search to find some info on Salem trash pick since i see so much bulk items left curbside (walking my dog) Also i feel suspicious of why i have been seeing the recycling buckets dumped into trash trucks instead (this summer). I wont waste any more time or resources washing out containers if NO need to?
john August 15, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Considering whats going on with school biding,I wonder if Northside really is low bider on trash???? I have also seen recycle picked up in regular trash trucks,unsorted.

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