In an effort to reduce the amount of compost at town-operated transfer stations, Southampton Town Board members approved a resolution last week allowing commercial businesses to take the material for free.
Typically, the town charges commercial contractors $2 per cubic yard of unscreened compost and mulch, $15 per cubic yard of double-ground mulch, and $20 per cubic yard of screened compost.
“We give it away to homeowners,” Town Supervisor Jay Schneiderman said at a Town Board meeting on November 12. “For a short period of time, we’re also going to be giving it away to commercial contractors.”
Town Board member John Bouvier said the materials currently take up space and need to be reduced to make way for fall materials that are being dropped off at the transfer stations.
He explained that there is too much organic material, and it has to be turned. But right now, the site is getting inundated with new material.
Mr. Bouvier also said the facilities face new conditions they have to meet to be in compliance and registered with the State Department of Environmental Conservation.
“We have to put down asphalt because we can’t have leaching,” he said. “So, we need to get rid of that material as much as possible.”
According to the resolution, all fees associated with the purchase of compost and mulch, with the exception of delivery charges, will be waived. The fees will continue to be waived indefinitely, or until the Town Board gets word from Christine Fetten, the town director of municipal works, that waiving fees is no longer necessary.
Ms. Fetten explained on Monday that the pads the compost sits on need to be reconstructed in order to get a permit from the DEC. The idea is, once the pads are rebuilt, they will prevent contaminants from mulch and compost entering the ground and water.
“I’d like to get the facilities as bare as I can so that we are not dealing with them with the compost while we’re trying to reconstruct the pads,” Ms. Fetten said. “I’m really trying to get rid of as much as I can.”
The town is seeking approval from the DEC to accept and process more than 10,000 cubic yards of vegetative waste at the Hampton Bays transfer station. If approved, the facility would be upgraded from a “registered facility” to a “permitted facility.”
Currently, the 12.5-acre yard waste facility in Hampton Bays can accept between 3,000 and 10,000 cubic yards of vegetative waste, although that threshold has been breached in recent years due to growing demand.