New York City garbage coming to Elsmere, DE?

Since closing it’s giant Fresh Kills landfill, the City of New York has been spewing garbage all over the Eastern part of the US.  Now, the City is contracting to send 500,000 tons of garbage every year to the Covanta incinerator in Chester, Pennsylvania, one of the most notorious “environmental injustice” communities in the US.

In years past, Green Delaware has worked with Chester residents to stop the Delaware Solid Waste Authority (the “Dirty Authority”) from sending Delaware garbage to Chester.  Of course, New York City garbage doesn’t belong there either, and New York groups, along with Chester residents, are fighting the scheme.

The Delaware angle to this:  The proposal is that about 1200 containers of garbage per month (about 40 per day) would be sent by rail to the CSX rail yard near Elsmere, Delaware.  There the containers would be loaded on trucks and sent back up to Chester.  One obvious question is why should all these containers pass through Chester, southbound to Delaware, then be trucked back up to Chester?

Chester is loaded with rail facilities, including tracks right next to the Covanta incinerator.  This would obviously produce a lot of dust, noise, odors, diesel emissions, and traffic congestion, with no benefit to Delaware.  The Elsmere rail yard has been controversial in years past.  What about now?

The contract says: “… all of the Intermodal Facilities listed in this Appendix have been duly approved for use by the City of New York, Department of Sanitation, Bureau of Waste Disposal, as of the Contract Execution Date.”  Has anyone in Delaware been asked about this?  We spoke to a CSX Corporation representative but didn’t learn much.

What happpens if the Chester incinerator is down for maintenance?  Would some of this New York City garbage end up permanently in Delaware at one of the DSWA dumps?  In the past, the Dirty Authority sought to open its dumps to out-of-state garbage but was successfully opposed.

The contract appears to run for 20-30 years.  It’s over 700 pages and we are still studying it.

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