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Safety stepped up at transfer station

June 18, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - An accident earlier this month at the Washington Township Refuse Transfer Station in which a woman tumbled down a 12-foot garbage pit has prompted the state to push for more safety regulations, according to Township Manager Michael Christopher.

New regulations were added that the state Department of Environmental Protection has yet to approve. They call for hiring a full-time worker to run the scales, direct traffic and impose the new rules, Christopher said.

The woman injured in the June 1 accident was standing at the edge of the pit directing her husband as he was backing up his truck, according to police. The truck hit her and knocked her into the pit, police said. She was injured seriously enough to be hospitalized, authorities said at the time.

DEP officials sent a letter to the township requiring changes to avoid more accidents.

Township officials responded by creating the new job, which will be filled by part-time employees rather than a full-time worker, and installing a barrier six feet from the pit, said Gary Calimer, transfer station operator.

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Residents now must dump their garbage on the concrete apron leading to the pit and workers push it in with a front-end loader.

The new position will be paid for with an increase in dumping fees from $1 to $1.25 for a 33-gallon bag. Fees on larger bags also are going up.

Calimer reported the changes to the DEP but does not know if they will be approved, he said.

The station, a regional facility, serves residents and commercial customers in Franklin County, Pa., and neighboring counties in Maryland, Christopher said.

On an average Saturday, up to 300 cars and other vehicles visit the transfer station, he said.

The township hauls the trash to the Mountain View Reclamation landfill in Upton, Pa.

The transfer station is self-supporting. Its annual budget is about $300,000, Christopher said.

He said residents are complaining about the new regulations, the hike in fees and the fact that they can no longer throw their garbage into the pit.

"We're trying to encourage residents' cooperation," Christopher said.

One resident complaining Wednesday was Charles Strausbaugh, a local accountant. He threw his six large garbage bags over the barrier and into the pit. Next month, disposing of six bags will cost him $1.50 more.

"This is a well-managed facility. It's unfortunate that it's being over-regulated. This is supposed to be a time of less government," Strausbaugh said.

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