Note: The following letter was contributed jointly by the managers of Lower Saucon Township and Hellertown borough.
Nov. 30 was the closing date for the seventh season at the Saucon Valley Compost Center. The facility, which is located on Springtown Hill Road in the township, is operated jointly by Hellertown Borough and Lower Saucon Township and allows residents from the two communities to drop off leaves and yard waste.
This season over 8,800 visits were logged in by residents visiting the center. This number came close to matching the peak of 9,133 visits that were made in 2012 due to the amount of Hurricane Sandy storm debris that residents were able to dispose of at the facility.
Prior to this year’s opening, over 1,300 ID cards were mailed to residents who had used the center previously. The new cards, which are color coded to denote township or borough residency, allow visitors to enter and log in with the gate attendants much more rapidly than in previous years. During the season, an additional 300 first-time residents visited the facility and were issued new ID cards.
The center annually machine grinds the leaves and yard waste material that is dropped off throughout the year. Two grinds of the material produces a good supply of quality compost—three grinds produces an even superior product—which is then made available to residents for free to take home with them. The center offers machine loading of compost at a modest fee, which totaled to $3,805 collected for the year, which will be used to pay for one of the machine grinds next year.
This year the two municipalities reached an agreement with neighboring Williams Township that will allow them to dispose of the yard waste that they collect from their residents at their municipal public works facility. In return, Williams Township will pay the compost center an annual fee starting at $3,000, which will further defray our costs for the machine grinds.
The center is still seeking volunteers to assist with the operation of the facility. Due to our municipal funding limits, the operating days/hours of the compost center cannot be extended beyond the current schedule at this time. However, expanded schedules could be considered in the future if an adequate number of volunteers step forward to assist the facility staff.
The compost center will be open again this coming January on Saturdays (Jan. 4, Jan. 11, Jan. 18 and Jan. 25) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to accept Christmas trees and yard waste. Next year’s tentative opening date for the facility will be April 11, 2014.
We thank everyone for their participation and support in helping make this another successful year of operation.
Jack Cahalan, Lower Saucon Township Manager, and Cathy Hartranft, Hellertown Borough Manager
Photo: The entrance to the Saucon Valley Compost Center in Lower Saucon Township (credit: Lower Saucon Township)