Construction crews will spend the next few days installing a giant trash compactor at the South Utah Valley Solid Waste District's transfer station, and central Utah County residents should be using the facility in January.

The giant compactor and its operating parts arrived Friday afternoon at the transfer station, located west of the south Springville I-15 exit. Two semitrailer trucks brought the $300,000 compactor and its parts to Utah Valley from Portland, Ore., and it took two cranes about two hours to load the compactor in place. Crews now have to weld the 200,000-pound mechanism to its pedestals and install the remaining parts.Dale Stephenson, district manager, said the compactor should be ready for testing by Friday. The transfer station should be complete by the end of December and be open for use on Jan. 2.

"We're feeling pretty comfortable with our first-of-the-year starting date," Stephenson said.

When the land for the station was purchased, district officials planned on opening the facility in August. But testing revealed the ground contained clays saturated with water, and it took about eight weeks to drain the property and wait for it to settle.

The transfer station will receive waste from the cities of Provo, Springville, Spanish Fork, Mapleton and Salem. Waste will be smashed in the compactor and hauled by semitrailer trucks to the Bayview Landfill near Elberta. The two projects' $8 million cost is being shared by the five communities based on the percentage of use by each community.

Once the station is open, Stephenson said closure of the Provo and the Springville/Spanish Fork landfills will begin immediately. Environmental Protection Agency regulations require that both landfills be covered with two feet of soil. Arrangements and contracts have been awarded to have both landfills closed.

"We anticipate that the minute we open the transfer station we will cease to accept waste at the other landfills," Stephenson said.

Now the project is close to being complete, Stephenson said district officials have a better idea of what the district's operating costs are going to be. The district will hold a meeting on Thursday, Dec. 13, at the Provo City Water Resources' office, 1377 S. 350 East, to discuss policies and fees relating to the station's use.

The district still needs to establish drop-off fees, set the station's hours and finalize regulations on use of the station by private waste contractors. A fee will probably be charged for those who bring uncovered loads to the station.

"We don't want people littering the roads as they bring loads into the station," Stephenson said.

The contract for trucking the waste was recently awarded to Blaine Evans Trucking, a Spanish Fork company. Stephenson said the contract calls for hauling about 12 to 14 loads per day to the landfill, with the minimum load being 22 tons. The total contract is for about $470,000 a year for five years - with a five-year option.