Waste issue closes glass dump site


No more downtown glass disposal.

Acme Transfer Co. Inc. will no longer accept glass from residents and businesses following a spat with the Department of Environmental Conservation.

Community Waste Solutions accepts separated, clean glass for no charge.

Acme president Paul Nelson said the company has accepted glass free of charge from the American Legion, Pioneer Bar, and other businesses and citizens for the past decade. It crushes about 100 tons annually and uses the material for fill on projects.

Nelson has been using the crushed glass as fill on his private property on Skyline Drive, but neighbors complained to the DEC about it, including that it’s smelly, contains garbage and spills off Nelson’s property.

“It’s not what he’s claiming it to be,” said neighbor Lynn Nowak. “Basically the entire neighborhood is upset about it and many people have contacted the DEC about it... What he calls fill is not fill. It’s garbage. There’s plastic oil bottles. There’s ceramics, tin cans.”

Sandra Woods, a DEC specialist on solid waste, sent Nelson a May 7 letter after getting complaints that Nelson was using solid waste as fill.

Woods ordered Nelson to stop using the material and to obtain a DEC permit if he wanted to continue using the mixture for projects, including building a driveway.

Crushed glass is exempt from Alaska’s solid waste laws but Woods said Nelson’s material doesn’t qualify because it contains unbroken bottles and bits of pottery, isn’t “properly sized and processed,” and could be unsafe.

“The shards of broken glass you are using as fill could constitute a threat to public safety,” she wrote to Nelson.

Nelson says there’s no garbage in his crushed glass. As for the consistency of the fill (which DEC says must be finer and have characteristics similar to sand or gravel) Nelson said the agency gave him permission several years ago to use the same process he is using now for a separate project.

In 2011 when contaminated soil was found near Bigfoot Auto, the company removed the soil and filled the area with crushed glass fill, which the DEC agreed to, since glass is inert and doesn’t produce leachate.

“DEC said, ‘Oh yeah, you can use crushed glass in there. You don’t need any more permits.’ Now they’re changing their story because some unhappy neighbors think I’m creating a landfill,” Nelson said.

Nelson said he has stopped using the material, but is still arguing with the DEC over the legality of its cease-and-desist order. That means he can’t accept glass, he said.

“For recycling to work I need to have a flow to it. I have to be able to know I can get rid of it before I can accept it... We’re trying to keep it out of the waste stream. But apparently DEC is anti-recycling,” he said.


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