Jonathan Wheeler and David Garcia: McCourtney Road Transfer Station needs a renovation

As the operator and landlord of the McCourtney Road Transfer Station, we’d be the first to tell you that the facility is in dire need of a makeover. The transfer station was designed more than 26 years ago with a layout that never anticipated the volume of customers that currently utilize the site, which is why customers are experiencing long lines and longer than normal wait times at the facility on a regular basis.

Nevada County is currently in the preliminary design phase of a renovation project designed to address site deficiencies and greatly improve your customer service experience at the transfer station. The project is scheduled to begin late next year and will help alleviate the traffic caused by a massive increase in customers who continue to utilize the site. Residents are encouraged to visit for additional information.

At times this year, more than 900 customers a day visited the transfer station. Those counts don’t include customers utilizing the facility to dispose of yard waste or visiting the recycling buy back center, which has increased significantly. On average our monthly traffic count has increased 75% since 2016.

An unprecedented global pandemic also contributed to delays as we worked to ensure our friends and neighbors who work at and visit the facility remained as safe as possible by following guidelines issues by federal, state and local health officials.

We understand the issues and have made changes to help alleviate long wait lines. Those changes include:

Processing improvements at the scale house that have lowered transaction times to 45 seconds per customer.

Improving roadways to increase vehicle queuing capacity at the facility and alleviate traffic on McCourtney Road.

Redesigning staging area for the recycle buy back area to provide stalls for customers to sort recyclable material.

Providing educational material to customers to help them be prepared before they arrive for quicker processing.

Conducting active traffic control on site to keep lines moving and direct customers to the correct drop off locations.

These are obviously stop-gap measures and the ultimate relief will come once renovations are complete. While we work to make the transfer station as efficient as possible, we also need the public’s help.

Cover/secure your load. Unfortunately, we continue to see customers arrive with loads not covered or properly secured. More than 40% of customers utilizing the facility are not securing their loads leading to litter in the surrounding area and potential deadly hazards on our roadways.

Sort recycle buy back material. Sorting recycling buy back materials before arriving at the facility can help speed processing time. Remove caps from plastic containers and separate and keep similar materials, such as glass, aluminum and plastic, together.

Don’t arrive early. We’d also like to encourage customers not to arrive at the facility before it opens at 8 a.m. Creating a line before the facility opens only leads to longer delays throughout the day. We promise you; your wait will be less if you arrive once we are open rather than sitting in front of a closed gate for several hours. In addition, you can review a live traffic camera and find other useful information online at

Store vehicle weight. If you’re a frequent user of the facility, please allow us to store your vehicle’s weight. Storing a vehicle’s weight allows you to exit the facility faster because we will not have to weigh your vehicle again.

A solution is on the way and if we work together, we can make your visit to the transfer station as seamless and quick as possible. For more information about the transfer station and solid waste collections in Nevada County you can visit Nevada County’s website at:; or Waste Management’s local area website at: Thank you.

Jonathan Wheeler is the McCourtney Road Transfer Station manager. David Garcia is the program manager for Nevada County’s Solid Waste Division.

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