Auto Wreckers Eyed as Site for Transfer Station in Barnegat
Barnegat Township officials are taking a wait-and-see approach before endorsing a concept of a proposed garbage transfer station at the site of Barnegat Auto Wreckers at 866 Route 72. At the township committee meeting on Sept. 5, Township Engineer John Hess said that the business’ owner, George Somerville, had submitted a letter outlining his intentions. He had requested that the committee send out a letter of support for the station plan, in which local waste collection vehicles would deposit their waste cargo prior to loading into larger vehicles. These larger vehicles would then transport the waste to the Ocean County Landfill Corp. in Manchester Township or other locations.
“I’m not in favor of it; I’m not against it,” said Mayor John Novak. “But I think we need to get more information. I’m not ready to agree on anything yet.”
Hess said such a station would be very beneficial to Barnegat Township as a host community, and said other towns and companies would save on wear and tear on their vehicles since they would no longer be making trips to the landfill in Manchester Township.
“For towns on the southern end of the county, you’re talking about a 30- to 45-minute trip,” he said. “With a facility in Barnegat, it will cut down on travel time significantly.”
Hess said towns could use the facility whether their garbage is hauled in-house or privatized.
“This should lower the cost of the garbage contract because the private hauler wouldn’t be making longer trips to the county landfill. Those trips are all figured into the contract’s cost.”
Hess said talk about a transfer station dated back to 12 years ago when Bryan Dempsey was the administrator.
“But now, it seems like Mr. Somerville has a partner,” said the engineer.
Contacted later, Somerville said that at that time, he was looking to go into business with Charles Hesse, who then was the owner of the Manchester facility. However, Somerville said Hesse fell ill and subsequently died.
“I had been trying to get something worked out, but I couldn’t find another partner,” said Somerville. “Everything had been in limbo, but now I have formed a partnership with Waste Management. This is going to be my last shot at this. But I think this would be a huge benefit to the township and other area towns.”
Novak said Barnegat could reap “a huge windfall” as a host community.
“I don’t know what the dollar amount would be, but the revenue would be based on tonnage among other factors,” he said. “That part looks good, but I need to further study the plan.”
Committeeman Frank Caputo said that while he was in favor of the concept, the idea raises environmental concerns.
“A transfer station could give off odors,” he said. “Do we want that smell by the entrance to Barnegat?”
“We have to be extremely careful,” said Deputy Mayor Albert Bille. “This station won’t be too far from the Pinewood Estates and Brighton at Barnegat mobile home communities, and it would be a problem when the the wind blows from west to east.”
Novak said the transfer station is “likely years and years” away from fruition as approvals would be needed from the township as well as state and county agencies.
“They would need approval from the Ocean County Department of Solid Waste and the Department of Environmental Protection,” said Novak. “And if they get those approvals, then they would have to go to the Pinelands Commission, and that could be difficult .”
Hess added, “I told Mr. Somerville that the Pinelands Commission might not like the idea of a transfer station out in that area.”
— Eric Englund