This is Jean McMillen interviewing Brian Bartram at the Town Hall in Salisbury, Ct. Brian is going to talk as Manager of the Salisbury-Sharon Transfer Station. The date is July 26th, 2012.
JM:Brian, what is your full name?
BB:Brian Douglas Bartram.
JM:What is your birthday?
BB:The actual place was Sharon Hospital, but we were living in Lakeville at the time.
JM:Your parents’ names
BB:John and Elizabeth, commonly known as Anne, Bartram.
JM:Do you have siblings?
BB:One sister, Amy.
JM:Basically what is your education?
BB:I attended Salisbury Central School, I went on to Salisbury School for high school, and the University of Connecticut out at Storrs and graduated in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology.
JM:How did you get the job a Manager of the Transfer Station?
BB:Back in February of 2007 the job was advertised as the previous manager was retiring in June or July. They wanted to hire somebody so that there would be a 6-8 week transition period. So I applied for the position.
JM:And obviously you got it.
BB:Fortunately I did receive the position.
JM:Whom did you take over from?
JM:Tell me please how many people are on your staff.
BB:Including me there are 4 full time people, and we have three part time people.
JM:Basically what are the types of trash that you collect?
BB:Obviously we collect garbage, regular household garbage for recycling, then things that are just disposed of construction and demolition material, and bulky items such as mattresses and sofas. Then for recycling we take bottles and cans, paper & cardboard, leaves, batteries, electronics, clothes, scrap metal, books.
JM:Does it all go to the same location or does it go to various recycling centers?
BB:The majority of the material currently goes to the Connecticut Resources Recovery Authority. That would be the bottle and cans, paper and cardboard, as well as the garbage. Each of the other items goes to separate vendors.
JM:The recyclables, how does this profit the town?
BB:The biggest profit immediately is that you are not throwing it into the garbage hopper where we are being charged $69 per ton to throw it out. Additionally some of the materials can be sold, so not only do you avoid disposal costs but also earn revenue for the transfer station fund by selling that material.
JM:Wonderful, and the more we recycle the more money the town gets back.
JM:Is there anything that is not accepted at the Salisbury-Sharon Transfer Station?
BB:Medical wastes, any sort of hazardous waste like asbestos or mercury or things like that are not accepted.
JM:What is the progress of the future transfer station? Are we in the building stage, the planning stage?
BB:We are still in the planning stage; the Salisbury-Sharon Resources Recovery Authority who owns the property for the new transfer station (Dimmond Road Ed.) has formed a building committee about a year ago. The building committee has interviewed engineering firms, and they are down to a short list of 3 possible candidates for that position.
JM:Do you remember going up to Bunker Hill (Clark Farm/Erickson Farm) before the transfer station was built?
BB:The only thing I remember about Bunker Hill is driving up there, probably with my grandfather, my mom and dad, and there were peacocks by the entrance where you drove in. That’s about all I remember about it.
JM:That’s a good thing to remember. Now you have been manager of the transfer station for about five years, has anything changed radically in your interim?
JM:What plans do you have for the future for either upgrading or recycling or making things more efficient?
BB:One of the things that has been done for the last 2 years is that I’ve sold the copper wire so when you go to throw out your coffee maker into the garbage, if I can get to you before you do that I’ll cut the wire off of it. For this past year fiscal year 2011-2012 I have grossed a total of 966 pounds of wire that has been collected. It was sold so the transfer station made$1,402.93. Some of that would have gone in the metal box, say if it were a dishwasher or some other item for the metal box where we average about 11cents a pound scrap metal, but if it had gone into the garbage, we would have been paying almost 3 ½ cents to get rid of it. So instead on average it was $1.41 which is what the copper wire brought in. The other thing that I did last July, actually the end of June of 2011, was that we had a company come in that collects books. Over the fiscal year 11-12 we collected just over 20 tons of books for which they are paying the town $60 a ton so that is about $1200 basically in found money.
JM:20 tons of books?
BB:20 tons of books.
JM:Now are these good books; are they foxed, are they damaged?
BB:They should be in usable condition; they should not be moldy, they should not be torn apart. Again I encourage people to put the books into the “Swap Shop” first and have the local resident have a chance to take them. Obviously we only have so much storage area in the “Swap Shop” for books; then we put them into the book container.
JM:I see. Are there any problems or situations that you would like to improve or eradicate from the transfer station?
BB:Certainly in the new facility everything should be covered to keep the water weight down. Every time it rains, if you have a mattress in demolition, that is going to retain water, and since you pay for those items based on the weight, you are paying more because they are wet.
JM:Anything else you envision for the new transfer station other than being covered?
BB:Everything needs to be paved, hopefully with a limited amount of backing up to help prevent accidents and make it safer for the residents. In the new facility the commercial garbage should be
coming into a separate area; again so you don’t have the potential for a garbage truck or a large vehicle to back over a person.
JM:That would be a good safety feature.
JM:Anything that I haven’t asked you about the transfer station that you would like to add to this?
BB:Nothing has been decided yet; in the last 5 years I have been going up and doing a lot of research on designs of new transfer stations and the way materials are handled. One of the things I found interesting was during my trips to New Hampshire, southern Vermont, and Massachusetts was that many of the communities well actually have the resident separate out the recyclables by item. In other words at some transfer stations you put your aluminum cans in one bin, your tin cans in another, your plastic water bottles in another and so on down the line. What they then do is they bales them up like making a bale of hay, except you are making a bale of recycling which you then market once you have a full tractor trailer load of that material, or if you market it through another co-op or something like that where they can join you up with another community that has one half of a load. Then you can sell it on the market that way. There is more cost obviously to bale that material up; however what you are saving is on the driving because when it is baled up and you have a trailer load, whoever is purchasing it from you will pay for the trucking. You will have a large truck a 53 foot truck comes to pick it up. You are also making revenue on that commodity because the cleaner it is and the closer the truck load the better the price is that you are going to get. When markets are in, or in turmoil or when the markets are down, the cleaner your material the better chance you have to move it, even if you are not going to make money on it. Instead of having vendors say they can’t take it because they can’t move it, but if they know that you have clean material, somebody will always take it from you.
JM: All of these recyclables are in tons. When we talked the last time, you said that there was something that was in a gross ton. What is a gross ton and what material is weighed or measured in gross tons?
BB:The scrap metal which a lot of times is considered” white iron” in terms of the designation of what we are delivering to the scrap yard. Traditionally metal yards all over the place are dealing with ferrous, meaning iron, scrap, but do it in gross a ton which is 2,240 pounds instead of the traditional net ton which is 2000 pounds.
JM:So it is 12% higher.
JM:I paid attention! You also told me about Governor Mallory’s panel that you are on. What is that specifically?
BB:In April I was appointed by Gov. Malloy to the governor’s modernizing recycling working group which meets out at Connecticut Department of Environment & Energy’s headquarters at Hartford. We meet about twice a month and of course I do not have the charge in front of me here but we were charged with three things: 1) to try to save the municipalities and the residents of Connecticut money to 2) to try to extract value out of the waste stream and 3) to help increase the markets in Connecticut which will hopefully create jobs and get the economy going within Connecticut.
JM:I think that you said that in the whole state there are only 15 on the panel.
BB:They have increased it and ended up with 17 and some of those people are from different departments in the state as well; Economic Development and several others.
JM: Have you already met once?
BB:We met in April and from June, I don’t remember how many times but I think it has been about 8 times.
BB:Our report is due to the governor by December 1st. We’re plugging away at it.
JM:Perfect. I know that you have other civic activities in the town. What else do you do besides run the Transfer Station?
BB:I am currently a driver for the Salisbury Ambulance Service; I started doing that almost 2 years ago. When I was a wee kid of 17and a senior in high school I did the Emergency medical technician class, I became an EMT back when I turned 18, and in the EMT for 6 years. Actually I was an EMT for 2 years, and I received my intermediate certificate for 4 years. I was on Salisbury Volunteer Ambulance Service back then. Most of that time I was out at the University of Connecticut, but I was home most weekends so I would cover the town when I was back home. Then I started chasing after my wife so I wasn’t home as often.
JM:You got a good one!
BB:And I got a good one. Then I let that all slip. With the kids I wasn’t really able to devote any time to the ambulance because you couldn’t just leave the kids home alone. Now that they are 13 and 11, it is OK to disappear for an hour or two.
BB:Carefully I know they are good kids.
JM:I know they are. You are also on the school board aren’t you?
BB:I am also on the school board. Back in October-November of 2004, I was appointed by the Board of Ed. to fill the remainder of Dr. Johnson’s seat of the board. I was elected in November of 2005, and reelected in November of 2009, and I believe it was from 2007 to 2011 as secretary of the board. In November of 2011 I was appointed by the board members as Chairman.
JM:Great. Anything else you would like to add to this either civic responsibilities or the transfer station or life in general.
GG:Salisbury is a nice place to live.
JM:Perfect. Thank you so much Brian.