Knox shouldn’t “miss a beat” as it transforms transfer station

Enterprise file photo — Michael Koff
A man throws trash into a bin at the Knox transfer station.

KNOX — With a job trailer on-site and two dumpsters on the way, the Knox transfer station is settling into its new digs. 

The town discovered earlier this year that its main transfer station building, built four decades ago, is in danger of collapse and that it would need to be torn down and replaced. Since the job is so large, and no best solution clear at this point, the town board chose to set up a temporary arrangement to keep operations ongoing as it considers the path forward. 

Supervisor Russ Pokorny told The Enterprise this week that the town purchased and set up a job trailer for about $14,000, and that it’s currently sitting on the property, awaiting an electrical hookup. The town is waiting to receive two self-compacting trash bins, which it’s already ordered and should be delivered by the end of the year, Pokorny said. Each bin cost around $30,000, he said, and will also need electricity. 

The town is hoping to cover the costs of the project with the federal aid it received to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“I don’t think we’re going to have to shut down at all,” Pokorny said of the transfer station. “We’ll get the job trailer put into position, get the two compressor boxes put into position, and then we can shut down that center area and put some yellow tape around it. I don’t think we’re going to miss a beat here, with any luck.”

When asked if the building would be demolished soon, Pokorny replied that “soon” was “too strong a word,” and that it’s not known yet exactly how that process will be handled, nor how much it will cost. 

“I think the demolition, depending on how you do it, has a wide range of what it could cost,” he said, adding that it might be a job town highway crew  members could do themselves once spring rolls around and they’re not tied up with keeping the roads clear. 

“If they can do that, that’ll help,” Pokorny said. “Maybe we can just fill the hole and pave over it, and put a pavilion over it. So … you could pay quite a bit for that demolition, or maybe you could do it inexpensively.”  

He said that the board’s most recent progress, of figuring out where exactly to place the trailer and dumpsters, “isn’t a small thing,” and that the stopgap measure gives them “breathing room” and avoids a potential calamity. 

“We still haven’t figured out exactly what we want to do long-term,” Pokorny said. 

The problem with the current two-tier building lies in its foundation and the retaining walls that help support it, according to Nolan Engineering, which conducted an assessment of the building earlier this year. 

Nolan’s report suggested that water runoff is doing most of the damage, and that the water volume increases as the building slowly fails and tilts the parking lot. The town had been concerned about the state of the transfer station for many years since cracks in the walls and foundation, along with bowing, were visible at least as early as 2016. 

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