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Transfer Stations

Waste transfer stations are facilities where municipal solid waste is unloaded from collection vehicles and briefly held while it is reloaded onto larger long-distance transport vehicles for shipment to landfills or other treatment or disposal facilities. By combining the loads of several individual waste collection trucks into a single shipment, communities can save money on the labor and operating costs of transporting the waste to a distant disposal site. They can also reduce the total number of vehicular trips traveling to and from the disposal site. Although waste transfer stations help reduce the impacts of trucks traveling to and from the disposal site, they can cause an increase in traffic in the immediate area where they are located. If not properly sited, designed and operated they can cause problems for residents living near them.

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For more information about waste transfer stations and the actions EPA has taken to address this issue, see the following publications:

A Regulatory Strategy for Siting and Operating Waste Transfer Stations. In 1999 the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council undertook a study of the impacts that waste transfer stations are having on poor and minority communities. The report of their findings and their recommendations of actions for EPA to consider is available in:

Waste Transfer Stations: Involved Citizens Make the Difference (PDF) (28 pp, 210 KB) contains information on what role transfer stations play in the community, how they might impact the community, and how you as a concerned citizen can participate in the decisions concerning their location and operation.

Waste Transfer Stations: A Manual for Decision-Making (PDF) (66 pp, 648 KB) defines what a transfer station is and how it relates to municipal solid waste management in the context of a community's total waste management plan. The manual identifies issues and factors to consider when deciding to build a transfer station, planning and designing it, selecting a site, and involving the community.

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