State Delays Plan to Expand Trash Train

A company’s application to nearly triple the amount of garbage it exports daily through Middle Village, Ridgewood and Glendale has been “indefinitely delayed” following numerous concerns aired by civic leaders and area legislators, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

One World Recycling – a company that processes the garbage in Lindenhurst, Long Island, that then travels through Queens by rail cars operated by New York & Atlantic – had recently applied to the state DEC to increase its garbage output from about 370 tons to approximately 1,100 tons. The proposal drew outrage from residents and legislators who have for years complained about the rail cars that leave a pervasive stench throughout the area. Civic groups, Community Board 5 members and elected officials, including Assemblyman Andrew Hevesi (D-Forest Hills), all asked the DEC to deny the permit application.

“The permit cannot be granted without them addressing the conditions of the open rail cars,” said Mary Parisen, chairwoman of the Civics United for Railroad Environmental Solutions.

Since 2008, One World Recycling has had a state permit that allows the co-mingling of commercial waste with construction and demolition debris in open rail cars. For years, putrescible waste, which can be, for example, food pieces, used diapers and pet waste – essentially the parts of garbage that smell – has been shipped in the cars traveling through Queens.

Residents have said the garbage smell and debris has resulted in a wide variety of problems, from residents being unable to open their windows during the summer because of the stench to children having problems with asthma.

Parisen said the company must protect the public from the garbage through “containerization.”

“How can NYSDEC control for dust, odors and vectors for the health of workers inside the trash transfer facility and then expose people outside the facility to those same health risks? Communities must be protected too,” Parisen said.

Hevesi too said he is pleased with the state’s decision to heed concerns from the community.

“After voicing concerns to the DEC in both a joint letter with my colleagues and during a meeting with agency heads regarding the expansion of this permit at the Lindenhurst facility i’m encouraged that they will be delaying the process indefinitely,” Hevesi said. “While increasing waste transfer from road to rails still remains an admirable goal, it is of the utmost importance that any increases on these rail lines are accompanied by measures to mitigate quality of life and environmental impacts.”

By Anna Gustafson


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