Waste Management, Inc. has once again resumed operations of their transfer station at the intersection of NY 66 and NY 351. Several residents have raised questions regarding the operation of this facility. This article is intended to answer some of those questions.
The facility operates under a NYS DEC permit that has been kept current since the facility first opened in the 90's. The permit has been amended over time and now allows the facility to handle 200 tons of garbage per-day. Site approval for the project was given through a Planned Development District in 1992. The Planning Board did approve a site plan revision in 1995 which raised the the throughput of the facility to 200 tons and called for a "Host Community Agreement" between the Town and the operator (Benson Brothers). The agreement was executed but only contained a term of three years.
Waste Management's state permit provides that they may handle up to 200 tons per-day; only operate between the hours of 7AM to 5PM, Monday through Saturday; may only enter and exit the facility from NY 66; may only handle municipal solid waste for transfer to larger vehicles; any overnight waste must be stored in these larger vehicles; must control litter generated by their operation and may not have idling vehicles in or near the property. Transport vehicles should be completely covered.
The original host agreement was not written for the life of the facility but rather had a term of three years. Several prior administrations have tried to create a new agreement with the various operators without success.
As Town Supervisor, I sent Waste Management correspondence stating in part that if they wanted to be a community asset they should consider entering into a new Host Community Agreement with the Town. The components of that agreement would include their adoption of NY 66 and NY 351 for some distance under the states adopt a highway program and provide routine litter removal along that section of highway and that they also provide an opportunity for residents to directly dispose of their household solid waste at the facility. I have also requested a host community fee from the company.
Several residents have raised concerns regarding the potential for groundwater contamination. They have also raised concerns about past contamination. In 1998 several drinking water wells were tested by the State Health Department at the insistence of Supervisor Zwaig who came into office at that time. All the wells tested clean except a well associated with a home owned by the Benson's across NY 66 from the site. Toluene was identified in that well and was attributed to a fuel oil tank that leaked and was subsequently cleaned up on the property. This finding was mis-characterized as coming from the operations of the facility. All garbage is currently tipped onto a concrete pad with a leachate collection system that is monitored and tested.
While the actions of a prior board have limited the Town's options with this facility, residents are encouraged to report any problem with the facility and its operations to the Supervisor, any Town Board member or the Code Enforcement Officer. The company has been put on notice that we will be keeping a close eye on the facility and will insist and enforce the provisions of their NYS Solid Waste Management permit.