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North Valley group prepares protest of transfer station

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A group of North Valley residents are organizing to fight the placement of a transfer station at Edith and Griegos.

About 60 people showed up to a North Valley Coalition meeting Wednesday night to discuss the proposal and most said they would like to see the project stopped. They expressed concerns about safety, groundwater contamination, traffic congestion, odors, unhealthy emissions, noise and decreased property values.

The city plans to drop off garbage at the North Valley site before it’s hauled away to the Cerro Colorado Landfill on the West Side. The Solid Waste Department already has an operation at the 22-acre site that includes a maintenance yard, a filling station for the its dump trucks, administrative building and recycling center. Those uses would continue in addition to the proposed transfer station, which can process two tons of trash a day.

Solid Waste Department spokesman Bobby Sisneros said the station will be indoors and the trucks will dump their daily loads onto a sunken concrete floor. The trash will then be loaded onto a trailer and taken to the dump on the West Side. Sisneros said the trash will never sit for more than two hours and never be left overnight. The concrete floors will prevent it from contaminating any groundwater and because it’s indoors, the odor and trash will be contained, he said.

Before the project is approved, the city will hold public hearings and outline how it plans to “mitigate” neighbors’ concerns.

The purpose of the neighborhood meeting was to form a committee that, with the help of consultants, will prepare a health impact assessment. The assessment will address concerns raised by neighbors.

The two consultants, Kristine Suozzi and Kitty Richards, outlined for the residents the steps of completing the assessment and its purpose.

“We do not just want to say, ‘I feel,’ ” Suozzi said. “We want to be able to say, ‘I know.’ ”

Richards said that once information is compiled, they will make recommendations to city officials that could include moving the station elsewhere, killing the project completely or putting in place conditions that will protect the mental and physical health of residents.

“Everyone is always throwing things into the North Valley,” said resident Ronald Archibeck. “Everything happens to us.”

John Candelaria and his wife, Jane, said they are opposed to the station completely. He said even with conditions, he doesn’t believe it would be good for the neighborhood.

“I want to stop it,” he said. “I don’t want it.”

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