Talking Trash at the Borough Board
by Shane Miller
Oct 23, 2008 | 4734 views | 0 0 comments | 68 68 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, poses a question to Harry Szarpanski of the Sanitation Department about a new waste transfer facility set to open in Queens, one of two planned for the borough.
Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, poses a question to Harry Szarpanski of the Sanitation Department about a new waste transfer facility set to open in Queens, one of two planned for the borough.
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Members of the Queens Borough Board received an update on two new transfer stations that are currently under construction in the borough.

The new facilities, one in College Point and another in Sunnyside, will handle all of the residential waste from Queens as part of the city’s plan for borough self-sufficiency when it comes to handling garbage, a key component of the current administration’s 20-year Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP).

Harry Szarpanski, a deputy commissioner with the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), gave a presentation to the board, which is comprised primarily of members of the Queens Borough President’s office and community board members, at Borough Hall Monday night.

He first gave an update of the College Point Marine Transfer Station (MTS), a defunct facility that was used to ship garbage by barge to Staten Island when the Fresh Kills landfill was still in operation. The old facility is being torn down and a new facility designed to meet current needs is being built in its place.

Sanitation trucks will enter the facility and dump their garbage onto a loading floor, where the garbage will be pushed through holes in the floor into airtight containers. Once full, the containers will be capped and leave the facility, where they will be loaded onto barges.

To minimize odors from the facility, all air will exit the MTS through a single spot, where chemicals will neutralize the smell. The facility will also have a negative air pressure.

“That means when the doors open to allow trucks access, air will actually be sucked into the facility as opposed to being sucked out,” explained Szarpanski.

Because the barges are not designed for open-sea travel, they will have to carry the containers to another transfer facility somewhere in New York Harbor, where the waste will either be loaded on trains or ocean-going vessels for shipment outside of the New York area.

Following Szarpanski’s presentation, Marshall raised concerns about additional truck traffic around the facility.

“It’s fine if trucks are traveling on College Point Boulevard, but if they use residential roads, that is going to be a problem,” she said.

Which is exactly the issue that was raised with the Sunnyside facility. Located on Review Avenue on Newtown Creek, the station will operate much like the College Point facility, except the containers will be loaded onto larger tractor-trailers instead of barges and transported to the Maspeth Rail Yard, where they will be loaded onto trains and shipped out of the city.

Both Joseph Conley and Vincent Arcuri, chairmen of Community Boards 2 and 5, respectively, voiced concerns about the impact of additional truck traffic, as well as the possibility of trucks queuing on Review Avenue as they wait to gain access to the facility.

The Review Avenue site currently operates as a transfer station, but once the new facility is operational, permits will allow up to an additional 1,140 tons of waste to be handled there daily, including some commercial waste.

Szarpanski assured board members that DSNY would continue to have a dialogue with communities impacted by the transfer stations.

“If there are problems, we have made a commitment that we will change our routing,” he said.

DSNY hopes to have the College Point facility up and running in April of 2012, while the Review Avenue site should be fully operational by February of 2011.

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