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Transfer site know-how leads to a better community

The Fairbanks North Star Borough’s transfer site system provides a convenient service for our noncity of Fairbanks residents, allowing a quick and easy transfer of trash from your household to its final destination (community landfill). The improper daily use of these sites is causing unnecessary, increased expenses to be passed on to all borough taxpayers. Unknowing or purposeful bad habits increase the borough’s financial burden of running these sites efficiently. My office is committed to better educating qualifying transfer site users to control these needless expenditures, and, in some cases, loss of revenue. All residents will benefit by better understanding the policies and procedures applied relevant to borough codes.

Borough code 21.20.060E states, “no person shall dispose of solid waste in the borough’s public dumpsters collected from any location other than individual residences located in the borough and outside the city of Fairbanks.” This code applies to prohibit transfer site usage by any households residing within the Fairbanks city limits. The code also excludes any commercial entity from using the transfer sites for their waste disposal. City of Fairbanks residents pay separately for curbside trash removal, and may also use the landfill, located at 455 Sanduri St. All wastes generated by commercial operations should be taken directly to the landfill.

Commercial businesses using transfer sites as a disposal method ultimately create a double-barreled financial impact on taxpayers. First, this unauthorized usage by commercial operators increases the amount the borough must pay directly to the hauling contractor to move this illegal waste to the landfill. Secondly, and more importantly, the commercial operator avoids paying the Assembly-approved service fees at the landfill. The fees collected (per ton load) serve to fund needs vital to the operation of the Solid Waste Facility, such as heavy equipment replacements and maintenance, and construction of new waste storage cells to extend the life of the landfill. The borough is sending commercial businesses a letter to remind them of proper waste disposal methods.

FNSB Solid Waste staff and the hauling contractor have noted an alarming trend with uninformed or uncooperative users placing large waste items, such as appliances, boilers, furniture, tires, and even whole vehicles, directly onto the ground (this is considered littering and is not approved by borough code and will generate a fine).

As most will understand, any item not in a bin, cannot easily and efficiently be placed into a garbage truck. This requires extra steps to reach the landfill. More manageable items, such as tires, require staff to manually load them; heavier items like boilers and appliances require a skid steer, a loader, or crane, all which create additional costs. Abandoned vehicles at the transfer sites also incur extra costs as they must be towed by a contractor. Each of these result in extra expenses paid by borough tax dollars. The Solid Waste team understands the challenges of handling large items and provides an easy method: bring these bulky items directly to the landfill (no fee for residential customers including old vehicles). We even provide staff to assist in unloading the heavy items.

Borough transfer sites are an excellent example of how we demonstrate that we are here for the community to “serve-lead-thrive.” The transfer sites are designed to be quick, convenient and provide access for thousands of residents to place their household trash and debris. Let’s work together to foster better habits, thus allowing this essential service to be cost effective and hassle free.

You can help us directly by following the “see something say something method” — report any issues encountered at transfer sites to the Solid Waste Collection District office at 907-459-1347. Also, check out our transfer site’s public education campaign, FBXTalksTrash, online or on Facebook. Be the right person, putting the right stuff, in the right place, Fairbanks!

To all those who have used our transfer sites properly: We thank you!

Lee Williams is the Solid Waste Collection district manager for the Fairbanks North Star Borough. He has worked for FNSB for 12 years. The opinions expressed here are his and are not a reflection on the borough or Solid Waste Department.

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