Municipality breaks ground on new central transfer station

Mayor Ethan Berkowitz breaks ground on the site of the new central transfer station on 56th Street on July 9, 2020. (Kavitha George/Alaska Public Media)

The Municipality of Anchorage broke ground on a new central transfer station in Midtown on Thursday. The new facility, slated to be completed by 2023, will replace the aging disposal facility across the street. 

The central transfer station is the primary collection point for Anchorage’s garbage before it gets trucked to the landfill. It’s also where residents can go to dispose of large appliances, batteries and other hazardous waste.

Solid Waste Services General Manager Mark Spafford said the city has outgrown the existing transfer station, which was originally built in 1975 as a garbage shredding site. He said the new, larger facility will help extend the life of the landfill by 20 years by improving the sorting process for recyclables. 

“It’ll have large areas for people [to sort waste]. Let’s say they have a large load of tires, they’ll be able to go and drop it off. If they have a load that’s solely yard waste, they’ll be able to go and drop it off in a corner. We’ll be able to segregate those materials and not just throw them all in one big pile like we have to now.”

The old central transfer station is more than 40 years old and has had to close for repairs and maintenance in recent years. (Kavitha George/Alaska Public Media)

Spafford said the new transfer station will be much safer than the existing one, where he says people throwing their trash away accidentally fall into the garbage pit once or twice a year. Since it’s an enclosed facility, it’s also expected to cut down on smells.

The project is expected to cost $114 million dollars, and will be funded through Solid Waste Services user fees, according to the department. Spafford has proposed annual fee hikes for trash collections and disposal through 2022, but those have not yet been approved by the assembly.