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Borough to Extend, Expand Transfer-site Cleanup Program to Farmers Loop-West

Tim Ellis/KUAC

The Fairbanks North Star Borough is extending and expanding its effort to clean up solid-waste transfer sites.

Borough Solid Waste Division Director Bob Jordan says his staff is again getting a lot of positive feedback over a transfer-site cleanup – this time, from people who use the North Pole facility at 2740 Old Richardson Highway. Much like the public response to an earlier cleanup at a site at the east end of Farmers Loop Road.

“The response was just overwhelmingly positive,” Jordan said. “In fact, even a little bit higher than the Farmers Loop East transfer site.”

So, he says the borough will continue the program at the North Pole site until Oct. 31 or the onset of winter weather. As it did earlier this month for the Farmers Loop East site.

“People just like the cleaner site, they like the organized site,” he said. “They like the fact that they can come in and not find debris and garbage all over the ground.”

The borough launched the cleanup program to halt the growing problem of trash scattered around transfer sites, mainly by dumpster divers tossing it out as they rifle through the refuse. The borough also assigned on-site monitors to keep an eye out for other problems that’ve plagued the sites, such as graffiti, vandalism and drug activity. And it cut the hours of operation from 24/7 to 12 hours daily, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

Jordan says the reduced hours are a tradeoff that’s needed to better maintain the sites.

“We’re just trying to make them available to the extent possible for the public to use,” he said. “But at the same time, make it more manageable and be able to provide either staffer or a contractor during those hours.”

Credit Tim Ellis/KUAC
At one end of the Farmers Loop West site on Monday, residents check out old furniture and appliances, sell homemade jam and pull maintenance on a pickup.

Jordan says the borough will extend the program to a third transfer site next month at the west end of Farmers Loop, across the road from a University of Alaska Fairbanks parking lot. “We’ll shut it down at noon on the 9th for the afternoon, and go ahead and get it cleaned up. And then reopen it again starting the next morning on Aug. 10th, at 7 a.m.”

Jordan says that’ll be the last site to be cleaned up through the program this year. He says those three are among the borough’s five major transfer sites – the others are on Chena Pump Road and Badger Road. But Jordan says cleanups at those two sites are unnecessary.

He says the Solid Waste Division doesn’t have enough staff to continue monitoring the transfer sites, so the borough will hire a contractor for the duration of the program. A borough news release says the contractor will cost about $8,400 per month, and it says that’ll be largely offset by the money saved from not having to keep cleaning up the sites so often.