Berlin Cuts Yard Waste Disposal For Now

BERLIN – Yard waste will no longer be accepted at the Berlin transfer station as work begins to cap and close a portion of the site.

Dec. 31 will mark the last day homeowners can bring yard waste to the Berlin Homeowner Convenience Center (HOCC) off Flower Street. Beginning in January, homeowners should take their yard waste to the central landfill in Newark.

Worcester County Director of Public Works John Tustin says officials hope to resume offering yard waste disposal in Berlin in 2017.

“We hope to be able to build up the area and resume accepting yard waste at the Berlin HOCC at some point in the future,” Tustin said. “However, we won’t know for sure whether this will be a possibility until the project is complete.”

According to Tustin, anytime a portion of a landfill becomes full the state requires that a synthetic cap be installed and two feet of soil and plants be put over it to ensure rainwater doesn’t seep into it. Though the municipal cell at the Berlin facility was capped in the 1990s, the rubblefill portion is just now being done. Because of its proximity to the area where homeowners deposit yard waste, Tustin says they’ll have to bring it to the central landfill or the Pocomoke HOCC for the foreseeable future.

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“During construction we can’t allow homeowners onto the site,” he said. “Once construction is complete we might be able to.”

He says as long as there is sufficient space once the cap and closure is complete, the Berlin facility will again be able to accept yard waste.

Cleanup of the Berlin rubblefill is expected to last three months, with the actual cap and closure process—a nine month procedure–to begin in the spring. The $3.4 million project is being funded with general obligation bonds.

Tustin says the facility could reopen for yard waste at the beginning of 2017.

While a fair number of area residents do bring their leaves and branches and the like to the facility, Tustin says he believes they’ll find bringing it to the central landfill just as easy. Though a bit further south, he says the central landfill offers a neater paved drop-off spot and parking area.

“If they realized what we have here they’d be happy to bring it here,” he said.

In addition to the central landfill, Tustin’s department operates three HOCCs, which are located in Berlin, Pocomoke and Snow Hill. Homeowners who purchase annual permits may dispose of household trash and recyclable goods at these facilities.

The convenience centers are closed on Wednesdays and most official holidays.