Waste Management Program fact sheet
Division of Environmental Quality Director: Kyra Moore

Waste transfer stations are facilities where solid waste is unloaded from collection vehicles and briefly held while it is reloaded onto larger long-distance transport vehicles for shipment to landfills or other treatment or disposal facilities.

To save energy and transportation costs, local governments and the solid waste disposal industry often direct local trash collection vehicles, known as packer trucks, to transfer stations. The waste is dumped on a collection floor where it is inspected and pushed or loaded into tractor-trailers that deliver it to one of 18 sanitary landfills in Missouri or to a landfill out of state. By combining the loads of several individual waste collection trucks into a single shipment, communities can save money on the labor and operating costs of transporting the waste to a distant disposal site.

History of transfer stations in Missouri

  • In 1990, the state’s Solid Waste Law was modified to encourage recycling and to reduce the amount of solid waste going to landfills.
  • Soon after, the federal government established more rigorous “Subtitle D” landfill standards, which resulted in higher costs to develop landfills.
  • The waste disposal industry and local governments invested in larger, regional landfills.
  • In 1990, there were 72 landfills and 26 transfer stations in Missouri.
  • By 1994, when Subtitle D went into effect in Missouri, there were approximately 30 landfills and 30 transfer stations in operation.
  • As of 2004, there were 53 transfer stations and 23 landfills in Missouri.
  • A Department of Natural Resources survey of transfer station design and operations was completed in 2004.
  • As of 2014, there are 54 transfer stations and 18 sanitary landfills in Missouri.

Transfer station design information

  • Transfer stations are designed to manage the waste brought into the site. Most transfer stations push the waste from the “tipping” floor into an open top trailer that is parked in a pit.
  • Transfer stations are designed and operated by the industry or local governments. The department provides some oversight, but there are no state or federal standards on design.
  • Some transfer stations are designed to allow separation of materials for recycling. These are called material recovery facilities. Waste not being recycled is loaded on tractor-trailers and sent to the landfill. The recyclables are sold.

The departments’ oversight on transfer stations

  • The department issues construction and operating permits to transfer stations in accordance to regulations 10 CSR 80-2.020(3).
  • According to the regulations, once a facility has submitted a complete application for a construction permit, the department has 12 months to approve or deny the application.
  • According to the regulations, once a facility has constructed the transfer station and submitted a complete application for an operating permit, the department has 60 days to approve or deny the application.
  • The department inspects the permitted facilities a minimum of four times per year.
  • According to Missouri Solid Waste Law and rules, within six months of the receipt of a request for a permit modification, the department shall approve or deny the request.
  • When review shows the request complies with Missouri Solid Waste Law and rules, the department must approve the request and issue a permit for modification.
  • When review finds the request does not comply with the law and rules, the department may either provide a comment letter explaining why the request is deficient or deny the request and explain the reasons for denial.
  • If a comment letter is issued, the applicant must send the department a complete response. If this response is not provided, the department may deny the modification request.

What the Solid Waste Management Program Reviews

  • Types of solid waste accepted
  • Letter of approval from the local planning and zoning agency
  • Impact on local traffic flow
  • Wastewater control
  • Surface water monitoring
  • Housekeeping schedule
  • Daily litter control efforts
  • Putrescible waste handling
  • All waste handling under roof
  • Waste handling will be screened from view
  • Odor, noise and dust control efforts

What the Program Does Not Review

  • Effect on property values
  • Economic considerations
  • Choice of site locations
  • Local planning and zoning ordinances

Nothing in this document may be used to implement any enforcement action or levy any penalty unless promulgated by rule under chapter 536 or authorized by statute.

For more information