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St. Lawrence County will upgrade recycling equipment

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CANTON — Recycling in St. Lawrence County will become less cumbersome with the $300,000 purchase of equipment for the Ogdensburg transfer station.

“It’ll make us more efficient,” county Highway Superintendent Toby W. Bogart said. “It’ll make it easier for anybody to dump recyclables.”

The county already had planned for $225,000 in this year’s budget for the equipment but had been holding off on the purchase until a recent decision by legislators to continue operating its Solid Waste Department, which is run primarily through user fees.

“Now we know where we’re headed,” Mr. Bogart said.

Legislators are poised to approve spending an additional $75,000 for equipment in addition to what was already in the budget. The extra money will come from a $60,000 Development Authority of the North Country rebate and $15,000 from the sale of recyclables to Casella Resource Solutions.

The money will pay for a roll-off truck, compactors, boxes and hoppers. Similar equipment already was installed at the Massena transfer station at a total cost of about $180,000. Through a grant, the state Department of Environmental Conservation will reimburse the county about $90,000 for the Massena improvements.

The latest expenditures also will be eligible for a reimbursement grant of about 50 percent from DEC, Mr. Bogart said.

The county also operates transfer stations at Gouverneur and Star Lake, but the greatest volume runs through Ogdensburg and Massena.

In addition to making it easier for individuals and haulers to dump recyclables, the upgrade will relieve the county from spending thousands of dollars annually on maintaining older equipment, Mr. Bogart said.

The improvements could help encourage users of the transfer sites to recycle more rather than dump everything together as solid waste. The cost of disposing of recyclables at the transfer stations is $50 per ton, compared with $155 per ton for solid waste.

In addition, the county is working toward zero-sort recycling, as Casella does for its private customers, so that all recyclables can be mixed together for disposal.

The recycling improvements may not help the bottom line of solid waste disposal, Legislator Kevin D. Acres, R-Madrid, said during a recent committee discussion of the purchases.

“It doesn’t really address having that tipping fee be competitive,” Mr. Acres said.

The department is working on other ways to improve its operations for 2013, Mr. Bogart said.

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