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Changes coming to Carlton County Transfer Station

If the number of people bringing household garbage to the site isn’t reduced, the next step is to implement curbside pickup county-wide, zoning administrator Heather Cunningham said.

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The Carlton County Transfer Station is increasing its fees for household garbage and encouraging others to bring construction waste only on Wednesdays. (Jamey Malcomb / jmalcomb@pinejournal.com)
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The Carlton County Board of Commissioners approved a number of changes to fees and the schedule for the Carlton County Transfer Station during its meeting July 13.

The changes have to do with increased transportation costs and encouraging residents who use the facility to dispose of household garbage to bring larger, sorted loads, said Zoning and Environment Services administrator Heather Cunningham.

The station’s schedule will also change to limit the number of people trying to get into the facility on a daily basis, she said.

Beginning Sept. 1, the station will accept construction and demolition debris only on Wednesdays for $6 per cubic yard. Construction waste includes carpet and padding, ceramic tile, fiberglass, insulation, siding, roofing materials and other debris that would be attached to a building. On other days construction waste will cost $15 per cubic yard.

RELATED: Carlton County Transfer Station overwhelmed with mattresses, increased traffic Residents have started throwing mattresses on the side of the road because the transfer station is no longer accepting them.

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In addition, bagged household garbage will be a minimum charge of $10 per cubic yard and mixed waste — unbagged garbage and large, bulky items — will be $15 per cubic yard. In addition, mixed waste will not be accepted on Wednesdays.

Cunningham said the Zoning and Environmental Services Department will ask patrons to sort their loads before arriving at the Transfer Station on Highway 210. There will be no charge for scrap metal if the load is sorted before people arrive.

One reason for the fee increase was the department’s rising transportation costs.

“When I became zoning administrator in 2021, our transportation costs were about $8 per ton,” Cunningham said. “Now, they’re $20 a ton, and so in order to reflect those increases we need to change the gate fees at the transfer station.”

The fee increases for bagged household garbage and mixed waste also reflect an attempt to reduce the number of people bringing one or two bags of garbage to the transfer station on a weekly basis.

Traffic trying to enter the station routinely backs up on Highway 210, according to Cunningham, and creates a potentially unsafe situation for customers and people who work there.

“We can’t have on Mondays 280 people come to the transfer station,” she said. “It is not safe, even with our blinking lights on Highway 210 ... I’m really hoping that customers really reduce their trips to the transfer station because I think the next step is that we just implement county-wide that you have to have curbside. It’s not sustainable and it’s just not safe out there.”

Cunningham said her department is working with the highway department to install a separate exit at the transfer station to help with traffic flow, but it is unclear when it will be built.

Jamey Malcomb has a been high school sports reporter for the Duluth News Tribune since October 2021. He spent the previous six years covering news and sports for the Lake County News-Chronicle in Two Harbors and the Cloquet Pine Journal. He graduated from the George Washington University in 1999 with a bachelor's degree in history and literature and also holds a master's degree in secondary English education from George Mason University.
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