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Fact Sheet: A New Approach to New York City's Comprehensive Waste Management Plan

May 21, 2014

"This administration has taken a new approach to implementing the city’s Comprehensive Waste Management Plan, which is guided by a commitment to fairness and borough equity, while also being responsive to air quality, traffic and pedestrian safety concerns of communities in close proximity to marine transfer stations.” – Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia

Since taking office, Mayor de Blasio has directed his administration to review the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) and engage with communities impacted by the operation of four marine transfer stations across the city. New York City’s Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP) is a comprehensive, long-term plan to fairly and sustainably collect and dispose of New York City’s municipal solid waste. Led by Commissioner Kathryn Garcia and the Department of Sanitation (DSNY), administration officials have made community engagement a key component of this new approach as the city moves forward with this five-borough plan.

The SWMP is a fair, five-borough plan that will handle New York City’s waste and offer flexibility and resiliency in the case of a natural disaster or other emergency. The SWMP mandates a switch from long-haul trucking to a system of marine and rail transfer stations spread throughout the five boroughs. Full implementation of the plan is anticipated to reduce the City’s annual greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons and annual truck travel by 60 million miles.

Key to the de Blasio administration’s implementation to the SWMP is a newly-initiated community engagement process with stakeholders and representatives from affected communities to accommodate concerns regarding air quality, truck traffic, and pedestrian safety in the vicinity of the marine transfer stations.

Taking Steps to Address Air Quality Concerns

In response to concerns about air quality raised with the city, the following actions will be taken:

  • Require that all tug operators utilize Tier 3-compliant engines ahead of required compliance schedules. The department will require that tugs meet Tier-4 emissions requirements for particulate matter when such technology is demonstrated and available;
  • Perform air monitoring at the four marine transfer stations on a bi-annual basis; and
  • Extend the City’s Clean Heat program to reduce emissions from boilers using dirty heating oil, a major contributor to existing air pollution on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, and work with the Departments of Environmental Protection, Health and Mental Hygiene, and the Office of Long Term Planning and Sustainability to perform additional analysis of ambient air quality related to existing mobile and point-source emissions.

Alleviating Truck Traffic and Keeping Pedestrians Safe

In an effort to minimize disruption to communities, the city will:

  • Ensure that there is no queuing on public rights-of-way leading into the stations;
  • Provide an enforcement agent at the base of the ramp when collection trucks are entering and leaving the 91st Street Marine Transfer Station to improve traffic flow and improve pedestrian safety; and
  • Monitor truck traffic near DSNY-operated marine transfer stations.

These commitments are in addition to the current design elements of the marine transfer stations, including the installation of efficient truck handling, a negative air pressure system, vermin controls, containerization of refuse, odor neutralizers, and extensive flood proofing to meet newly released flood maps.

DSNY has established a bi-weekly meeting of a Community Advisory Group composed of stakeholders and community representatives to explore additional mitigation measures and discuss issues pertaining to marine transfer station construction as they arise. DSNY will also work closely with the Department of Design and Construction (DDC) to accommodate the community during construction of all facilities, including the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station, and DDC is in the process of hiring a community liaison for the Community Advisory Group.

91st Street Marine Transfer Station

A critical component of the SWMP, the East 91st Street Marine Transfer Station will begin to accept residential waste from Manhattan community districts 5, 6, 8, and 11. The station will also eventually accept up to 780 tons per day of commercial waste collected by private haulers in Manhattan.

DSNY is committed to being a good neighbor at 91st Street. Since 2006, the department improved the air quality of our fleet by investing in new vehicles and retrofitting older vehicles with Best Available Retrofit Technology to minimize pollutant emissions. To date, these investments have yielded a 90 percent decline in PM emissions and a 74 percent decline in NOx emissions.

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