Conejo Transfer Station to reopen Friday

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It’s been a rough week for Valencia County residents trying to get rid of their trash.
Since last Tuesday, Conejo Transfer Station has suffered intermittent closures due to mechanical problems.


Conejo was closed Monday for the holiday, but didn’t come back online Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday due to the mechanical problems, said Valencia County Public Works Director Kelly Bouska.
“Conejo will reopen Friday,” Bouska said Thursday afternoon. “We have rented some roll-off containers so we can accept waste tomorrow. We are asking anyone with large loads to take those loads to alternate locations. We’re trying to accommodate as many individuals as possible. The large loads fill the roll-offs faster.”
The main issues at the transfer station have been with the three large trucks that haul the large waste trailers that trash is collected in to the landfill.
The trailers for the trash have what’s called “walking floors,” a mechanism that assists in the transfer of trash from the front of the trailer to the rear. At times, items become jammed in the floor, causing the mechanism to break. The trailers are also in need to repair at this time.
“We should have one truck up and running by Saturday, which will allow us to transport our large trailers to the landfill and dump them,” Bouska said.
She estimated that by the time the roll-offs are full on Saturday, at least one of the trailers should be “back on wall,” ready to accept trash as normal.
The situation of most of the equipment the transfer station needs to function on a day-to-day basis being out of commission, comes from the previous maintenance philosophy of the department, Bouska said.
“It’s not just that things are broken, but we need a cultural change in dealing with things that are broken,” she said. “It’s not band-aid and bubble gum anymore.”
Even though the equipment will be repaired, the issue of the age of the machines still remains.
“It’s still old. To truly ‘fix’ the problem, we need to start rolling over equipment and establish a replacement program,” she said.
And given the age of the equipment, Bouska said future mechanical problems aren’t out of the realm of possibility. Any time Conejo is closed, either scheduled or unscheduled, Bouska urges residents to visit other solid waste facilities.
“They can always go to other locations, anytime — always,” she said.
Other places to take trash are the city of Belen Collection Center, city of Albuquerque Montessa Park Convenience Center and the Waste Management Valencia Regional landfill.
Bouska reminds residents that Valencia County does not operate these facilities, and each has its own rules and costs.
Visit the county’s website, www.co.valencia.nm.us, for maps of the alternate locations.
Regular Conejo hours are 8 a.m. to 3:45 p.m., Friday through Tuesday. The transfer station will close for scheduled maintenance, training, holidays, during high on-site winds, equipment breakdowns or other unforeseen conditions.

Alternate trash locations:
• City of Belen Collection Center: Those wishing to use the Belen site must purchase a punch card at Belen City Hall before dumping. City Hall is at 100 South Main St. Call 966-2730 for information.
The collection center is at 135 Calle de Baca, in Pueblitos, south of Belen on N.M. 116. Look for the signs. The center is open 8 a.m. to noon and 12:30 to 5 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday. It is closed Sundays, Mondays and holidays.
• City of Albuquerque Montessa Park Convenience Center: The center is at 3512 Los Picaros SE. Take Rio Bravo west to Broadway, then go south to Bobby Foster Road. Call 873-6607 for information. It does not accept recyclables. The center is open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., seven days a week.
• Waste Management Valencia Regional Landfill: The landfill is on N.M. 6, west of Los Lunas. Turn south after crossing the Rio Puerco. Call 917-6232 for information. Minimum charges apply and a deposit is required. The landfill is open 7 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday. It is closed Saturdays and Sundays.


-- Email the author at jdendinger@news-bulletin.com.