Though the Tolowa Dee-ni’ Nation has declined to help the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority develop a transfer station in the Smith River area, the joint powers authority is still exploring potential properties for such a facility.

Director Tedd Ward said his current goal is to come up with between three and eight different potential properties so the authority can begin determining if they are suitable for a transfer station. The authority would need to weigh the purchase price, whether a change in zoning is necessary and what the development costs would be, he said. However there is no fixed timeline for developing a transfer station in the northern part of the county at this point, Ward said.

“There are decisions and planning processes yet ahead,” he said. “It’s one of the many things we’re doing, not the least of which at this point is we’re completing repairs at the landfill and we’re about to do a transfer station floor repair at the Del Norte County transfer station. Both of those things are going to be happening sooner.”

In addition to determining the zoning of a particular property, purchase price and development costs, Ward said there could be some permitting issues. The authority would also have to consider the property’s neighbors, he said.

A transfer station in the Smith River area could be similar to DNSWMA facilities in Klamath and Gasquet, according to Ward. It could be staffed by a single person, have no running water and few buildings except for an outhouse and a small gate shack for the attendant, he said.

“The main thing one needs in a transfer station is a place to park open-topped trailers and a height difference with a retaining wall so people can back up to the open top trailers and unload trash,” Ward said. “The main thing we need is a height difference and some paving. Depending upon the property, sometimes it already has a height difference and we need to do some grading work or sometimes it doesn’t have a height difference and we have to do even more grading work.”

The Solid Waste Authority is also exploring the possibility of applying for a new pilot project program under State Senate Bill 458 to allow for the collection of beverage containers with a California Refund Value in the Smith River, Gasquet and Klamath communities. But Ward noted the application deadline for the pilot project is tight.

Under SB 458, CalRecycle would establish up to five limited-term recycling pilot projects for unserved convenience zones.

“There’s a workshop later this month to discuss that as a grant program and we would be looking to potentially apply for that if it could expand convenience or improve financial viability for processing (CRV) in Del Norte County,” Ward said. “I think it would be more ambitious to try to be both developing a northern transfer station and doing a grant pilot project in the same timeline where you would expect buy back service at a yet-to-be-located northern transfer station.”

Meanwhile, the Del Norte County Transfer Station will be closed for floor repair between Feb. 2 and Feb. 4, Ward said. The repair includes laying down a quick-drying cement product that requires a two-day cure time. The transfer station will re-open on Feb. 5, Ward said.