Meet Our Members: Blue Water Services & the Riverview Transfer
When it was announced that the Kewaunee County Landfill was closing on May 25, 2018, many residents were wondering where they would go with their waste. Luckily for them, they need not worry, as the Riverview Transfer Station is operating the site, and has been since May 29, four days after the closing.
John Mastalir, who owns Blue Water Services and runs the Riverview Transfer station, says, “Really, a whole lot hasn’t changed for people who want to bring trash here.” Other than a few minor changes in the process, garbage can be brought to the site as it has been in the past. According to Mastalir, the reason for the change from County operation of the site to Riverview Transfer, was, “The [Kewaunee] county’s appetite to open the next cell of the landfill was not there.” Had the county opted to open the cell, they would have been looking at an estimated 5 million dollar investment.
Instead, the County decided to lease the landfill to Riverview.
“Right now, landfills are at a premium,” says Mastalir, “and in order make it work, the landfill needs to take in a lot of tonnage.”
Mastalir says the site wasn’t taking in nearly enough tonnage for the county to continue operation. One of the things Mastalir wants to stress to the public is that almost nothing has changed for their dumping needs. “If you came here before, and come here now, it’s basically the same process, and it’s a lot cleaner,” says Mastalir.
One of the changes that the company has implemented is the addition of co-mingled recycling, “Something the county never did,” he says. The site is working with the DNR to ensure compliance with regulations. Mastalir says, “We told the DNR what we were going to do, and we intend to stand by that, and are doing that now.”
Mastalir has been in and out of the refuse disposal business for over 30 years. In 1982, he started Mastalir Services, a waste management company in Kewaunee. After years of building up his business, he sold out to Superior of Wisconsin in 1995, which stipulated a non-compete clause for Mastalir for 2 years. He continued running certain portions of the business which were not sold out with his son, Michael, who did not have a non-compete.
In the late 1990s, he worked for the Kewaunee Marina as a boat mechanic and facility maintenance manager. After leaving the Marina, Mastalir started his business, Blue Water Services, offering boat repair, car maintenance, and commercial and industrial dumpster services. The company no longer does boat repairs, but does offer residential dumpster services.
Mastalir says that the business of waste disposal has an odd grip on those who have been involved with it. “Trash business is weird,” he says, “many of my competitors, like myself, have sold out at some point, and every one of us has gone back in.” He says “If you would have asked me in 1996 after I sold out, I would have said I’d never get back in this business. But it grows on you.” One of the reasons why Mastalir loves what he does, is the people he has gotten to work with over the years. “We have been really lucky to have really good people, it’s hard to find good workers, and I believe we have among the best,” says Mastalir.
The Riverview Transfer Station is located at the former Kewaunee landfill transfer building at E3726 County Road L in Kewaunee, WI. The company strives to provide responsible solutions to refuse disposal and recycling needs for the county. More information can be found on the business’s website, https://www.kewauneetransferstation.com/.
Article by Michael Novak, Intern, Algoma Area Chamber of Commerce