Civic hails move to use covered waste train cars
by Andrew Shilling
Jul 30, 2014 | 2015 views | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend | print
It has been nearly five years since Mary Parisen co-founded the Civics United for Railroad Environment Solutions (CURES), an advocacy group that has helped bring attention and funding to the issue of waste trains cutting through the heart of Queens and her Glendale neighborhood.

Now the state plans to create and monitor a cleaner garbage commute from Long Island through Queens communities.

In response to an application from Omni Recycling of Babylon to remove large amounts of solid waste from eastern Long Island, the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) authorized a 30-day emergency permit for rail transport with sealed bales, a move advocated for by CURES.

“The DEC has demonstrated responsibility in the close monitoring of facilities,” Parisen said. “The requirements of bailing the waste and loading it in a lidded, sealed railcar have now set a precedent for the future of moving waste by rail responsibly.”

Parisen and Mary Arnold started CURES in 2009 after outdated, garbage-carrying trains traveling through the 15-track Fresh Pond Rail Yard, located at 68-01 Otto Rd., left behind a foul odor for residents in the surrounding community.

DEC Commissioner Joe Martens authorized the temporary operation at an industrial site in Brentwood under the conditions the rail cars are covered and loaded directly from flat bed trucks into rail cars.

“Due to a shortage of available trucking resources, Long Island transfer stations have been unable to keep up with the volume of garbage during this peak season for waste generation,” Martens said. “To reduce the risk that garbage would go uncollected from residents and businesses, DEC issued a temporary emergency authorization.”

In addition to restrictions on the removal of lidded cars to licensed disposal facilities, the order also includes the implantation of environmental monitors at both the Long Island site and Fresh Pond Rail Yard in Queens to monitor the operation.

"These operational controls are designed to reduce the potential for any impacts to occur, and to provide for stringent oversight of this temporary operation while it is underway," Martens said.

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