Energy Committee, Select Board discuss future transfer station in Sunderland

Staff Writer
Monday, September 05, 2022

SUNDERLAND — The Energy Committee’s chair and vice chair got the Select Board’s blessing to further explore the possibility of establishing a transfer station in town.

David Goodwin and Aaron Falbel provided the board on Aug. 22 with an update on the Energy Committee’s research regarding the feasibility of having a place where residents can bring their trash and recycling. Sunderland at one time had curbside pickup paid by the town through property taxes, but this service was discontinued after a Proposition 2½ override failed.

It is now up to individual households to contract for these services, and USA Waste & Recycling is currently the only option. Goodwin said the town is one of the few in Franklin County lacking a transfer station.

Goodwin and Falbel said their committee has identified five potential sites for a transfer station: 8 acres at the town’s public safety complex on River Road, a landlocked 6.81-acre parcel on Reservation Road, 17.66 acres with a conservation restriction on Montague Road, about 1½ acres on Hubbard Hill Road, and just more than 14 acres next to the gravel pit on Bull Hill Road.

Goodwin said setting up a transfer station will save residents money and cited “a direct connection between trash and energy.” Recycling uses far less energy than disposing of waste in the trash, he said.

Goodwin and Falbel said they visited area transfer stations as part of their research. They particularly praised the one in Leverett that serves both Leverett and Shutesbury. Goodwin said this station also provides a social aspect for residents of a small town. The ideal transfer station for Sunderland, he said, would be centrally located with plenty of room for parking.

“Really, there’s only a couple of properties that suit our needs for a transfer station,” Goodwin said, adding that residents could still use curbside pickup if they wish.

He said he and Falbel were approaching the Select Board to gauge its support for the project. Select Board Chairman Tom Fydenkevez said his board has heard residents’ concerns about the rising costs of private services.

“Personally, I don’t think you guys are wasting your time,” Fydenkevez told Goodwin and Falbel. “I think it’s a wonderful endeavor.”

Select Board member Nathaniel Waring was also enthusiastic about the idea, reiterating Goodwin’s point about transfer stations also serving as social gathering spots.

Goodwin left the meeting saying he was very encouraged by the board’s reaction.