Thursday, January 21, 2010

Waste Management Ripped for Lack of Updates on Transfer Station Plans

By Conor Greene

Unhappy with the lack of updates from Waste Management regarding the company’s plans for a new transfer station on Review Avenue, the chairman of Community Board 5’s Sanitation Committee ripped the company during last week’s meeting.

Waste Management is planning to expand its transfer station on Review Avenue in Long Island City to allow it to increase the amount of trash it receives each day. However, the plan would require the company to place the trash on trucks and transport it about two miles to the rail yard on Rust Street in Maspeth. There, it would be loaded into rail cars to be shipped out of the area.

While the plan would allow Waste Management to sharply reduce the amount of miles trash is driven through city streets, it would require the approximately 1.5 mile trip from Review Avenue to Rust Street, a plan that has been met with strong opposition. Instead, residents and officials are pushing the company to either construct a rail spur on its property so the trash can be loaded directly onto train cars there or to purchase another nearby property and use the Newtown Creek to barge the trash from the area.

At last week’s CB 5 meeting, Sanitation Committee Chairman Paul Kerzner took an unorthodox approach to providing his update: frustrated with the lack of details from Waste Management, he simply read aloud an e-mail exchange between him and a company official. The official responded to his request for an update with a short messages informing him that Waste Management is “actively researching potential options” that would avoid trucking the trash to the rail yard.

In response, Kerzner wrote that the update was “just a bit skimpy for five months,” referring to the amount of time that has elapsed since he requested a status update. He added that he is “truly disappointed with Waste Management’s work product.” The company only said in response to that message that research is still ongoing and that a timetable will be provided once it is available, according to Kerzner.

In a statement to The Forum, a Waste Management spokeswoman said the company has formed a technical team that is studying potential solutions to concerns raised by the community. “It would be premature to speculate or comment further until our research is completed,” wrote Rachel Amar. “We will report back to CB5 as soon as we have concrete results. Waste Management will consult with the community before taking any action.”

Kerzner later told The Forum that he was prompted to call the company onto the carpet since months have passed since CB 5 overwhelmingly voted in favor of a resolution rejecting the company’s current plan and requesting that other alternatives be explored.

“It has been several months since this motion was made, and I think the board should have a status report,” he said. “I’m waiting for them to produce some results and I’ll be happy to hear what other proposals they have… I’m waiting and so is everyone else.”

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