As Myrtle Beach continues to grow, officials are looking at ways to keep up with current solid waste disposal demands.
A new top load transfer station that comes with an estimated $3.5 million price tag was one proposal city leaders discussed at a workshop last week.
The city’s centralized transfer station on Mr. Joe White Avenue — where recyclables and yard, household and bulk waste that are collected are taken before being transported elsewhere — is undersized, Public Works Director Janet Curry said.
She added only two of those kinds of materials can be unloaded in compactors at the existing transfer station at one time.
Bulk waste and loose limb yard waste often jams compactors at the current facility, which severely affects how much can be hauled until repairs are made.
Additionally, there is little room at the current transfer station to separate recycling materials, manage multiple trucks and stage multiple streams of waste.
Curry pointed out the current transfer station was built in 1977.
Back then, the city’s population was estimated to be about 9,000, and approximately 8,000 tons of waste was generated per year. The existing transfer station is designed to manage roughly 9,000 to 10,000 tons annually.
In 2019, Myrtle Beach’s population has increased to more than 33,000, and approximately 35,000 tons of waste are generated in a year.
Curry said the city must keep in mind state regulations that rule material cannot be stockpiled on the floor for certain periods of time and federal hauling regulations to consider.
A new transfer station would give city staff the ability to manage multiple waste streams and help with the mobility of trucks.
Crews would be able to haul more waste by using large top load trailers, resulting in less trips to the landfill.
The new station would also eliminate the need to store waste on the ground that would typically require the city to hire a subcontractor, and Curry noted Myrtle Beach has been forced to do this even recently.
The time it takes to unload yard and bulk waste would be improved, meaning less time would be spent at the transfer station.
The public works department has taken various steps over the years to manage waste that is collected, one being making the transfer station open to the public only on Fridays.
The new transfer station proposed would allow for residential and small commercial vehicles to safely unload at the facility five days a week.
Myrtle Beach staff has recommended the council approve the new top load transfer station being in the city’s capital improvement plan after leaders expressed different concerns, including ones with operations at the current transfer station.
Curry said there is room on the existing transfer station site to build the new facility.
Councilman Mike Lowder said he supports the new station being built.
“In my mind, that’s a no brainer,” he said. “This ought to be a top priority.”