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Local News March 19, 2009  RSS feed

Mayor Christens Trash Transfer Station Serving North Brooklyn

Facility Can Handle 950 Tons A Day
by Robert Pozarycki

Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member Diana Reyna and others for a tour of a new solid waste transfer station on Varick Avenue in East Williamsburg last Tuesday, Mar. 10. (photo: Joseph Epstein) Mayor Michael Bloomberg was joined by Sanitation Commissioner John Doherty, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member Diana Reyna and others for a tour of a new solid waste transfer station on Varick Avenue in East Williamsburg last Tuesday, Mar. 10. (photo: Joseph Epstein) Garbage collected from homes and businesses across northern Brooklyn will be shipped away by rail instead of truck, Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced last Tuesday, Mar. 10 during a visit to a recently-opened waste transfer station on the Bushwick/East Williamsburg border.

Part of the city's Solid Waste Management Plan enacted in 2006, the facility on Varick Avenue will handle an average of 950 tons of trash per day, moving the waste from collection trucks onto sealed container rail cars for shipment out of state.

Bloomberg was joined at the announcement by Sanitation Commissioner John J. Doherty, Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, City Council Member Diana Reyna and representatives of Waste Management of New York LLC., the New York and Atlantic Railway and CSX Transportation.

While observing that the operation is part of an ongoing effort to make the removal of trash from across New York City more efficient, the mayor stated that the rail waste transfer operations would remove hundreds of trucks off city streets each year as well as improve air quality.

"By exporting 950 tons of residential and municipal waste per day by rail, we're eliminating more than 40 long-haul tractor-trailer trips each day—or about 13,000 trips per year," Bloomberg said. "That's not only going to help reduce congestion on the borough's streets and highways, it also will reduce the city's greenhouse gas emissions and improve the air we breathe—especially in communities that have long been unjustly saddled with handling other people's waste."

"The Solid Waste Management Plan has revolutionized the way our city handles its solid waste," Commissioner Doherty added. "Our longterm contracts with our partner, Waste Management, and the utilization of the Varick Avenue transfer station, will bring us one step closer to each borough handling their waste more equally."

"For too long, Community Board 1 has been burdened with a disproportionate amount of the city's waste and has suffered with truck traffic, deplorable street conditions and high noise and air pollution," Reyna observed. "Waste by rail will assist in alleviating this inconvenience and is a step in the right direction in moving forward with a more environmentally just Solid Waste Management Plan."

As described, the transfer station will be open six days a week and will process trash and recyclables collected from neighborhoods in Brooklyn Community Boards 1 (Greenpoint, East Williamsburg and Williamsburg), 3 (Bedford- Stuyvesant and Ocean Hill), 4 (Bushwick and Ridgewood) and 5 (City Line, Cypress Hills, East New York, New Lots and Starrett City).

The waste will be offloaded from collection vehicles at the Varick Avenue station onto rail containers along the nearby Bushwick branch of the Long Island Rail Road. The container cars will be sealed before a New York and Atlantic Railway locomotive hauls them along the rail line to the Fresh Pond Railyard in Glendale.

The containers will then link up at the Glendale facility with an engine operated by CSX that will take the trash out of Queens, across the Hell Gate Bridge and to trash facilities outside of New York City.

According to the Mayor's office noted that the Solid Waste Management Plan approved by the City Council and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation aims to eliminate 6,000,000 miles of truck trips per year in the five boroughs while giving each borough the ability to process its own waste and recyclables.

Similar rail waste transfer stations have been built and opened in the Bronx and Staten Island. The city is also in the process of creating four marine stations, including locations in Sunset Park and College Point, in which garbage will be hauled away by barge.