BY ETHAN FORMAN
---- — DANVERS — The town’s transfer station operator is looking to expand.
Covanta Haverhill, the company that runs the trash transfer station, is seeking permission from the Board of Health to accept more waste from surrounding cities and towns, such as Peabody.
The facility wants to increase the amount of waste it takes in — including trash and recyclables — from 250 tons to 350 tons a day. It also wants to be open longer hours and an extra day. The hours of operation would change from the current 7 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. Monday through Friday, to 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Covanta also wants permission to accept small loads of presorted recyclables for transfer to another recycling facility.
The changes would amount to a nearly 60 percent increase in tonnage processed at the transfer station on East Coast Road, which is off of Route 1 south, just past the Danvers Crossing Shopping Center.
The transfer station is a metal building where trash is offloaded by trash trucks, then loaded onto larger trucks and hauled to a waste-to-energy incinerator that the company operates in Haverhill.
A mobile home park is located along East Coast Road, and homes on Helen Drive in Peabody sit to the south of the facility. Danvers health director Peter Mirandi said any residents concerned about the expansion would get a chance to air their concerns at a public hearing, most likely in August.
Officials of the company said, if they are allowed to accept more waste from surrounding towns, it would be diverted from landfills to its waste-to-energy generation plant in Haverhill. It would also allow the transfer station to accept more recycled materials from surrounding towns before they are transferred to a recycling facility. The request would not mean any physical change to the facility.
The expansion would “provide more flexibility for the plant and add hours,” said James Regan, a spokesman for Covanta.
Ken Nydam, the business manager for Covanta Haverhill, said the proposal has been “positively received by Danvers.”
The Board of Health last week picked attorney John Shea of the Boston environmental law firm Mackie Shea O’Brien to act as the hearing agent for the public hearing on the project, which has not yet been scheduled. Shea’s fees would be paid by Covanta.
Mirandi said the board does have questions about the request, given that it includes an increase in volume and work hours, which might mean more truck traffic on East Coast Road.
Nydam, Covanta’s business manager, said truck traffic “is already occurring.”
The trash transfer station is owned by Danvers; Covanta has been leasing it since 1984. The last time the tonnage limit was increased was in 1989, when it went from 100 to 250 tons per day.
The project does not need state environmental review, but it does need Danvers Board of Health approval, according to Covanta’s consultant.
“CEC believes that the proposed modifications will not damage the environment or cause unavoidable environmental impacts,” said the application filed by Civil & Environmental Consultants. “The changes to increase the daily tonnage will include a small increase in the daily traffic, but subsequently the slight increase in operating hours will allow the traffic to be conducted over a longer period of time throughout the day.”
After discussing the project with the town, Covanta agreed to plant a “vegetative buffer” between East Coast Road and the adjacent mobile home park. They also agreed that the health agent would visit the facility periodically to report on its “safe and sanitary operating conditions.”
Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at email@example.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.