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      Trash on the move

      A solid waste transfer station is a temporary holding place for trash. Contractors and locals can drop off the garbage they have collected, and it is later transported to a landfill. Houghton County recently opened its brand new facility in Atlantic Mine.

      â??Construction began late summer, early fall. They were able to get the earth moving, and the work that was required was done soon enough to get the building up and get it closed before winter set in. So we got real lucky with the timing,â?? said Houghton County Controller Eric Forsberg.

      A permit from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) was required for an official open. With the stamp of approval, the facility is now up and running.

      The new building cost $2.1 million paid for by a Rural Development loan and approved by the Houghton County Board of Commissioners last fall. The old transfer station was built 23 years ago and ever since then it has been sinking, because it was built over an old mine slope. Even with continual work done to stabilize it, the building engineers said it would not last much longer. So they decided to make the move.

      â??We have three bays. Two of the bays are devoted to construction material, furniture, anything thatâ??s not kitchen waste. With the new design we hope that we are going to eliminate the long lines that formed at the old station,â?? said Forsberg.

      â??Itâ??s a move into the future. We do about 10,000 tons of garbage a year. So the need is here, and weâ??ll get you in and get you out fast,â?? said Chairman of the Houghton County Board of Commissioners Edward Jenich.

      The board says the entire county will benefit from the station, because it helps keep dumping rates at a lower cost.