HEAPS of savings

June 27th, 2015 1:46 am

First Posted: 4/24/2013

Hey gardeners, need mulch?

You’re in luck.

You can pick some up, free of charge, if you live in Dupont, Avoca, Duryea, Hughestown, Pittston City or Jenkins Township - thanks to the Greater Pittston Area Regional Compost Facility located on Dupont’s 33-acre parcel in the Grimes Industrial Park.

The facility is up and running for the season, said Dupont Council President and Compost Facility Committee chairman Stanley Knick.

Knick said the primary goal of the facility is to reduce costs for participating towns.

“It’s not here to make money,” he said. “It’s here to save money.”

Because of the project, Dupont is taking less waste to the landfill, which results in a cost savings for the borough, Knick said. Landfills charge about $52 a ton.

“This project is really a win-win for everyone,” Knick said. “It’s a great example of how regionalization works.”

Knick said there are two types of mulch available: one made from ground-up trees and branches, which can be used for decorative landscaping, and a fertile compost made from grass clippings and leaves, which can be used with soil in gardening.

Only municipalities and approved contractors can drop off material, but anyone in the participating municipalities can pick it up.

The facility is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. A nominal fee is charged if workers need to load the material. The facility is fenced and locked, but mulch from a large pile in front the facility can be picked up an any time, Knick said.

Knick said the massive grinder is able to process wood up to 16 inches in diameter, but the facility only accepts trees and branches six inches in diameter or smaller. A water truck is used to hose down compost piles in the summer, helping the mixture decompose.

The equipment, which includes the grinder, a payloader, a water truck and fencing, was funded through the state Local Share Assessment program which uses revenues from casinos for community projects. A $461,000 grant was used and the facility became operational last year.

The large orange machine, called Son of a Beast, was manufactured by Bandit Industries. It is remote control operated, features a 24 by 52-inch mill opening and it’s equipped with a 225 horsepower engine. The unit weighs more than 12 tons. It was manufactured in Remus, Mich.

A startup fee of $2,500 was charged to each municipality, but yearly fees will be pro-rated based on population and use.

“Little Hughestown shouldn’t have to pay as much as Pittston City, for example,” Knick said.

The money, Knick said, is used for insurance, diesel fuel and two employees working 16 hours a week. Insurance is about $5,000 a year, Knick said.

A storage shed will soon be constructed to house tools, the payloader and water truck.

Plains Township is also in discussions to participate in the program.

Knick is president of the Compost Commission Board, Pittston Mayor Jason Klush is vice president, Tom Fritz of Avoca is the treasurer and Bob Gable of Hughestown is the secretary.

To get to the facility from Suscon Road, turn left into the Grimes Industrial Park. Once you pass the Dupont Municipal garage, a dirt road on the left leads to the facility on the right.