Jessica Cejnar / Wednesday, July 14, 2021 @ 12:07 p.m.

Last Chance Grade Closures, Changes in Klamath Transfer Station Hours Has Recology Del Norte Drivers Working Seven Days A Week, GM Says

Noting that the road closures at Last Chance Grade has impacted his drivers as well as the public, Recology Del Norte’s general manager asked solid waste officials to consider closing the Klamath Transfer Station on Fridays.

Recology Del Norte trucks are making the trip between Crescent City and Klamath four days a week currently, Recology Del Norte General Manager Jeremy Herber told the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority Board of Commissioners on Tuesday. This includes a trip on Thursday to do curbside service in Klamath, which involves Recology drivers leaving the yard at 4 a.m., he said.

“With the transfer station being open on Fridays (and) again on Sunday, we already got drivers working six days a week right now,” Herber said. “Which means I have to run trucks on Saturday, which puts us at a seven day work week schedule to try and keep the transfer station operating on Friday.”

Herber’s comment was an unagendized addendum to a report from DNSWMA Director Tedd Ward on the change in the Klamath Transfer Station’s operating hours to account for Caltrans’ new closure schedule on U.S. 101 at Last Chance Grade.

According to Ward, the new schedule for the transfer station had initially been from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays. The Klamath Transfer Station is also open an extra day, typically Friday, from July through September, he said. However, closing the station at 2 p.m. was “cutting it too short” for staff to get through the construction area on the highway before Caltrans closed it at 3 p.m., Ward said.

Ward said one of his employees, Kyra Seymour, had recently visited the Klamath Transfer Station to clean up a minor oil spill and had to scramble to finish before the road shut back down.

“She had six minutes to clean up and turn around and at 2:06, she was the third to the last car to get through at 3,” Ward said. “That showed us there wasn’t enough time to try to be open at 2 … that moved us to the 8-to-1 hours.”

The Klamath Transfer Station is now open from 8 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesdays and Fridays and from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. on Sundays.

According to Herber, the transfer station’s four-hour schedule on Fridays makes it difficult for his drivers to come to Klamath, remove the full containers and then bring back empty ones in time for Sunday’s schedule.

If there’s more than one container at the Klamath Transfer Station on Friday, Herber said, Recology then has to run a truck on Saturday to make sure containers are available on Sunday.

“Usually when they’re open Wednesdays (and) Sundays … we have enough time to service two to three containers,” Herber said. “When it’s open on Friday and they reopen again on Sunday, the only time we can service those containers is Saturday.”

Recology employees are also emptying trash cans in Crescent City and are servicing the recycling bins on Saturday as well, Herber said.

“Typically it’s not a problem, when that’s open we can get down there and get it done,” he said, referring to U.S. 101. “But this Klamath closure affects everybody. It’s really affecting us with operation times. We lose (drivers) for three-four hours of the day, which puts us behind schedule for our other customers we’re trying serve.”

Herber’s question prompted District 2 Supervisor Valerie Starkey, one of two county representatives on the DNSWMA board, to ask if Herber was asking the authority to close the Klamath Transfer on Fridays.

Ward said that would make things easier for Recology Del Norte, but the DNSWMA is a public service agency and “that’s part of the service we provide to Klamath.” However, Ward noted, that a decision couldn’t be made on Tuesday as the item wasn’t on the agenda.

One of the challenges for Herber, Ward said, is not knowing how much waste will come into the Klamath Transfer Station on Friday.

“It comes down to when’s the last moment we can find out whether or not he can send a driver — what he needs in terms of planning,” Ward said. “If we could reliably have the same amount of trash each week , then that would be a little bit easier, but we can’t do that.”

DNSWMA Chair Blake Inscore suggested putting Herber’s request on an agenda for a future meeting and do public outreach with Klamath.

The issue also needs to be vetted, Inscore said.

“We need to do some outreach with the community in Klamath in some fashion,” Inscore said. “We made a bunch of changes and I don’t think we had much pushback, but this is a significant change that they need to be able to weigh in on.”

Caltrans began implementing two four-hour closures Mondays through Thursday and one four-hour closure on Friday to speed up an emergency slide removal project at Last Chance Grade.

At a town hall meeting last week, Caltrans officials said they anticipated having the project finished by Aug. 31. 


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