Eco Station ribbon cutting to be held Wednesday

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By Special to the Monitor

Los Alamos County is holding a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new Eco Station that replaces the solid waste facility at the old County Landfill.


The ceremony is 11 a.m. Wednesday and will be held adjacent to the landfill at 3701 East Jemez Road. The public is invited to attend.


The new facility is designed and built to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design TM (LEED) Gold standards and the administration building has solar heat, hot water and cooling, thanks to a grant from the New Mexico Energy Minerals and Natural Resources Department.


“This project is a demonstration for Los Alamos County and New Mexico of green building and alternative energy,” Environmental Services Manager Regina Wheeler said.


Wheeler heads the county’s new Environmental Sustainability Initiative.


“It is our first green building project and we found out that we can do it,” she said.


The project was finished on time and within the budget of $6.5 million.


“It was a real team effort since it is a county project on Department of Energy land and most of the utilities are owned by Los Alamos National Laboratory,” Wheeler said. “The LANL team was great and the contractor, RMCI, Inc., kept the project on-time and within budget while building a quality facility.”


Wheeler said the county has a goal to become hydrocarbon independent so they are building energy efficient buildings and incorporating alternative energy wherever they can.


The county council now requires that all county owned building projects be designed and built to LEED Silver standards, have 25 percent better energy efficiency than a standard building and incorporate water savings measures.


The county named the new transfer station the Eco Station because it is a green building and has a focus on recycling.


“We recycle 40 percent of the material that comes to the landfill — about 20,000 tons per year. The Eco Station will provide opportunities to recycle even more,” Wheeler said. “Asphalt, concrete, brush, metal, tires, oil, antifreeze, batteries, cardboard, fluorescent bulbs and mixed commercial and residential recyclables are all recycled.”


The facility also composts bio-solids from the County’s wastewater treatment plant to produce hundreds of tons of beneficial soil amendment.


“It’s hard to believe that a trash facility could be beautiful, but it is. I think people will find the paved and enclosed transfer station a convenient and pleasant place to bring trash and recycle,” Wheeler said.


Waste won’t actually go through the transfer station until the landfill meets final contours for closure, projected to occur in January.


Residents and businesses will have all of the services at the new Eco Station that they are accustomed to finding at the landfill.


For more information, contact Wheeler at 505-690-4197.