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Company to expand LIC transfer station

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Residents of Long Island City and Maspeth may soon be getting a double dose of truck traffic as a major garbage company plans a major expansion to a waste transfer station in the area.

Waste Management recently submitted an application to the state Department of Environmental Conservation to convert its transfer station at 38−22 Review Ave. in Long Island City into a truck−rail transfer station. It will hold public information meetings at Sunnyside Community Services, at 43−31 39th St., June 15 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m., and in Maspeth at Martin Luther High School, at 60−02 Maspeth Ave., June 17 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Under the plan, the site, which currently has a processing capacity of 958 tons a day, would be able to handle 2,100 tons a day. The average daily volume would be closer to 1,947 tons a day after factoring in high−volume periods after the holidays, Waste Management said in its impact statement.

The facility, which currently transfers waste from garbage trucks to larger tractor−trailer rigs, would be converted to fill metal containers with the waste, which would then be sealed and driven by truck to the Maspeth railyard and loaded onto a train.

Each train car takes three long−haul, tractor−trailer rigs off the highway, Waste Management said.

But the larger station would produce more traffic for the immediate area. According to a study filed by Waste Management with the DEC, the new facility would put 222 more trucks on the street in the neighborhood each day, roughly doubling the current volume.

Joseph Conley, chairman of Community Board 2, said because the project will not require the oversight of the city’s land review process, the community will have a minimal say in how it proceeds.

“It’s kind of like under a cloud of night that they’re trying to do something here,” he said, noting the company held similar hearings in 2004 when it unsuccessfully sought a permit for a smaller expansion. “It’s pretty hard to fight this one. The only way to fight this is to go through the [city Sanitation Department] to say they’ve got to hold some leverage over the truck routes.”

Meanwhile, in Maspeth, where previous efforts to construct an underwater rail tunnel to Newark, N.J., met with fierce opposition from the Juniper Park Civic Association earlier this decade, leaders greeted the proposal with guarded skepticism.

“We definitely don’t want their trucks coming into our neighborho­od,” said Juniper Park member Tony Nunziato, who helped lead the fight against the freight tunnel plan. “We want to make sure our garbage is taken care of just like anybody else, [but] we want to make sure that Maspeth is treated like Manhattan — that we don’t have carcinogens, foul−smelling garbage, truck traffic.”

Last summer Maspeth and Middle Village residents complained about the smell and potential unsanitary conditions of garbage containers left to sit on the tracks near the railyard for hours while awaiting a CSX freight train to carry them out of the city.

Nunziato said he would wait for the public meeting before criticizing Waste Management’s plan further.

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e−mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 154.

Posted 6:32 pm, October 10, 2011
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