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Borough to close North Pole Transfer Site for Cleanup, Then Reopen With On-site monitor

PDC Engineers

Fairbanks North Star Borough officials plan to clean up a North Pole Transfer Site the same way they cleaned up the Farmers Loop East Transfer Site last month. They plan close the North Pole facility Wednesday and reopen it Thursday with Solid Waste staff on-site to survey users and prevent unsafe or illegal activity.

Solid Waste Director Bob Jordan says borough staff have been getting complaints from people who use the North Pole Transfer Site at 2740 Old Richardson Highway that sounded a lot what they heard a few months ago about another transfer site at the east end of Farmers Loop Road:

“Individuals spray-painting the containers. A lot of drug activities, finding a lot of needles strewn all over the place. Unauthorized, abandoned vehicles left at these transfer sites. And also just some general safety concerns.”

Jordan says those problems convinced borough officials to the same thing they did with the previously problem-plagued Farmers Loop Site: close it temporarily, clean it up, and reopen it with new hours.

“The transfer site will be open 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., seven days a week, all the way through ’til Friday, July 28th,” he said.

During that trial period, the borough will assign a staffer to work at the site to keep it neat, answer questions – and ask a few questions of their own. Others will help with on-site work, including workers with Alaska Waste, the borough's solid-waste contractor, and the Fairbanks Youth Litter Patrol.

“We’ll be taking surveys again, and any other types of comments and feedback from users,” he said. Respondents will be directed to an online survey site.

Jordan says the on-site staffer also will keep an eye out for the kinds of illegal and unsafe activities that have been going on at the site.

“Just the presence of someone there seems to elicit much-improved behavior from our residents,” he said.

Jordan says the borough may extend the trial period, if it gets a lot of positive feedback on the arrangement from users. He concedes it’ll cost money. Borough officials last month decided to keep a staffer at the Farmers Loop site for 90 additional days, at a cost of around $20,000.

Jordan says the borough spends a million dollars annually to clean up trashed transfer sites. And he says have staffer on-site, even temporarily, should help reduce those costs.