Behind a bricked-up storefront at 1711 Church St. in Evanston is an industrial operation that’s been the subject of a lot of controversy recently. Here’s a photo tour of what goes on at the Veolia Environmental Services transfer station.

Down a long driveway that parallels the old Mayfair railroad embankment is what some neighbors describe as a “tin shed” but Veolia officials say is a $3.5 million transfer station building, constructed a few years ago in response to complaints that the trash transfer operation was taking place in the open air.

After passing over a scales that determines the weight of the load and thus how much the truck’s owner will pay to dump it,

garbage route trucks back into the open side of the transfer station building. The truck operator pulls a few levers and the back end of the vehicle opens to dump its load onto the floor.

A typical truck may have as much as 6 to 8 tons of garbage, Veolia officials say.

A big front-end loader, driven by one of three Veolia workers at the transfer station, picks up the trash from the floor and carries it to the back of the building where it’s dumped into a pit.

Waiting inside the pit is a semi-trailer truck that can carry up to around 20 tons of trash off to a Veolia-owned landfill in Rockford.

Having the transfer station, the only one in Evanston, cuts labor costs and other expenses for trash haulers, compared to having the garbage route trucks deliver the trash directly to a landfill.

As a garbage truck pull out to leave, the upper floors of the Church Street Village town homes can be seen just across the railroad embankment.

Veolia uses a street sweeper to clean up around the plant site, and company managers say they send out workers on foot to pick up any trash that may blow around the neighborhood.

But, although Veolia has announced plans to add more plantings to the embankment to shield the homes from the view of the transfer station, town home residents and other neighbors complain that still more needs to be done to reduce noise and odor problems they say are caused by the Veolia operation, if it’s to remain in Evanston.

Related stories

City sees cash in trash

Neighbors underwhelmed by Veolia plans

Neighbors raise a stink about transfer station

Odor complaint against transfer station dismissed

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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  1. Neat story

    Interesting backdrop for all the recent complaints.

    I still agree with most folks about the owners’ complaints; though it’s not apples to apples (what is?), I moved right off of Dodge Ave this year and the street is sometimes more noisy than I would like. So what? I’m not barking at someone else to "fix" the neighborhood I knowingly moved into. That’s what home ownership is: a risk. Deal with it.

    1. Transfer station

      How would you feel if that new house of yours was built on a nice quiet street and then a few years later a busy road was built nearby? You would probably be upset and try to do something to not have the road built so close to your house. 

      Now imagine a transfer station was built and put right into your neighborhood. You would probably want to fight that as well.  Most of the neighborhood was built before the transfer station was allowed to operate on Church St. The West side of Evanston was built before the transfer station. To discount the push to have the transfer station either improve their operations or move just because a few townhomes were built nearby is wrong. Having the transfer station move or improve would benefit the whole neighborhood and not just one new development.

      Veolia does not operate by it’s own industry’s best practices. Until recently no effort was made to improve the operation.  The Federal EPA lists the best practices and many of them are not practices of Veolia.  The transfer station on Church is in a unique urban environment and the neighborhood would benefit by Veolia following these guidelines.

      1. What are the details you

        What are the details you meant by these statements and are they applicable in ALL situations?  Just curious.

        "Veolia does not operate by it’s own industry’s best practices. … The Federal EPA lists the best practices and many of them are not practices of Veolia."

  2. Veolia

    Here is a link to the document from the Federal EPA. It outlines some of the best practices for waste transfer stations. Page 38 is a good page to view.  The Veolia transfer station on Church St is not a fully enclosed structure which is one of the recommendations. This would greatly cut down on noise and smell. As you can see from the Evanston Now photos there is a very large opening at the front of the building and holes in the metal siding through out the building. Also presently the air is ventilated straight into the neighborhood with no filter.



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