American Marine Rail, LLC (AMR)
December 30, 1999
DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
NOTICE OF PUBLIC HEARING AND COMPLETE APPLICATION
APPLICANT: AMERICAN MARINE RAIL, LLC (AMR), 843 Red Road, Teaneck, NJ 07666
[DEC APPLICATION No. 2-6007-00251/00001]
PROJECT and LOCATION: The applicant proposes to construct and operate a barge-to-rail solid waste transfer station that will accept putrescible and mixed municipal solid waste originating from New York City 24 hours a day, six days per week (Monday through Saturday). All other wastes are prohibited at the site. The project site (500 Oak Point Avenue, Bronx, NY 10474), which would be leased by AMR for a term of thirty years, with two 10-year renewal terms, is 5.6 acres in size and is located in Community District No. 2 along the East River, in the Oak Point section of the Bronx, near the intersection of Barry Street and Oak Point Avenue. The majority of the site is paved and it contains five abandoned single-story industrial buildings that the applicant proposes to remove.
According to the application, the facility would process no more than 5,200 tons of solid waste per day. Waste would not be transported to the site by truck. Instead, the facility would receive all waste by covered barge, from marine transfer stations in the New York City metropolitan area. The barges will be transported to the facility by privately owned and operated tugboats contracted by AMR. AMR proposes to have no more than 10 full barges and 12 empty barges at the proposed facility at any one time. In an enclosed building, AMR would load the waste from a barge into a compactor and transfer the compacted waste to a container. Once filled, each container would be sealed and moved outside the building to a flatbed railcar located in a rail yard adjacent to the facility building. Under standard operating conditions, AMR intends that waste will be unloaded, containerized within the building, and rail-hauled within 48 hours of arrival.
Waste transportation by truck from the site is limited to: (a) unauthorized wastes and (b) the unavailability of rail service in the first 72 hours of each event during which rail service is unavailable, putrescible solid waste would be removed by truck. In the event that rail service was unavailable to the site for more than one day, AMR would cease accepting additional waste.
There shall be no on-street queuing or parking of vehicles in association with the operation of the subject facility.
AMR proposes to control odors as follows: (1) by having the waste arrive at the site in covered barges, (2) by using a wet scrubber in the building, and (3) by having the containers holding putrescible solid waste stored only in the facility's rail yard. Whenever there is putrescible solid waste in the facility building that is not in a sealed container, the building would be under negative air pressure, and all air exiting the building would be discharged through the scrubber. A contingency misting system will also be available if foul odors are detected while waste is being unloaded. In the rail yard, odors will be controlled by using only sealed containers for such storage on site and by keeping such containers in the rail yard for no more than 48 hours. There will also be a perimeter misting system that will be activated when weather patterns and waste storage conditions indicate an increased potential for odors to migrate beyond the site's boundaries. Prior to leaving the building, empty barges will also be covered to prevent the escape of odors caused by residual waste or the infiltration of rainwater.
The roll-up doors on the south wall of the subject facility would remain closed except when barges are entering or leaving the facility. All other facility doors would remain closed except when vehicles, equipment, or personnel are entering or leaving the facility.
Storm water control
From the time solid waste is unloaded to the time it is containerized, all waste would be handled inside the facility building, where it would not come in contact with storm water. This includes the time during which waste would be compacted. All wastewater (except sanitary wastewater) generated in the facility building would be directed to floor drains, pre-treated, sent to the local sanitary sewer, and discharged to the local municipal sewage treatment plant. (The facility's sanitary wastewater would be directed to the local sanitary sewer and municipal sewage treatment plant without pre-treatment.) Rooftop storm water will be directed to the East River while storm water from paved areas on site will drain to catch basins connected to the site's subsurface drainage system discharging to the East River. The applicant represents that there will be decreased storm water flows from the site because impervious areas will decrease from 4.9 acres currently to 3.1 acres when the project is complete.
Construction of the facility
In order to construct this facility, AMR proposes to demolish the site's five buildings; remove existing piers; dredge approximately 41,000 cubic yards of sediment from the East River; cap the dredged areas with a one-foot thick layer of clean sand; obtain final depths of 7-16 feet at the facility shoreline; replace the site's existing bulkheads; construct a 260 feet x 310 feet building, that would include a 155 feet x 120 feet platform over the East River; install a 260 foot long trestle, that would project out from the platform into the East River; raise the site's grade to 10 feet; install a rail yard; and erect perimeter fencing. The applicant projects that the demolition and removal of existing piers and dredging of sediment will result in a net increase in water column and open water habitat of approximately 23,000 square feet.
Marine Environmental Control
In addition to the use of covered barges, to prevent the entry of debris into the East River, AMR proposes to use measures with respect to the position of unloading barges, limits on the speed of waste removal from the barges, and limits on the maximum capacity of the hoppers, conveyor systems, and compactors. AMR also intends to employ door skirts on the unloading/compactor building, unloading platform skirts that will extend from the unloading platform to the barge facing the unloading platform, a fender system, a containment boom, dip nets, a scavenger boat as well as a shoreline team that will clean up litter that escapes the other techniques.
Environmental Benefit Fund
AMR proposes, as a special condition of this project's New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) permit, to donate a fee of $.50 cents per ton of waste that is processed through the facility for the life of the project to an ongoing community fund. It is envisioned that this fund, which would be independently administered, would be used by the community to improve the local environment.
PERMITS REQUESTED: This is an application for a solid waste management facility permit pursuant to Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) Article 27 and Part 360 of Title 6 of the New York Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations (6 NYCRR), a tidal wetlands permit pursuant to ECL Article 25 and 6 NYCRR Part 661, and a protection of waters permit and water quality certification pursuant to ECL Article 15 and 6 NYCRR Part 608. In addition, this proposed facility is located within New York City's Coastal Zone and therefore, the co-lead agencies, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the New York City Department of Sanitation must determine whether the project is consistent with the State's coastal zone policies and the New York City Waterfront Revitalization Program and seek concurrence with the New York City Department of City Planning and the New York State Department of State pursuant to Article 42 of the Executive Law and 19 NYCRR Part 600. The facility may also require on-site storage of hazardous substances which requires registration with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation pursuant to 6 NYCRR Parts 596 and 597. The specific substances that may require such registration are sodium hypochlorite and sodium hydroxide for operation of the scrubber and operation and maintenance chemicals such as organic degreasers that may be used on-site.
This Notice also serves as a Notice of Complete Application for this project. The DEC staff has tentatively determined that the proposed project meets the pertinent regulatory provisions.
VARIANCES REQUESTED: In conjunction with its permit application, the applicant is requesting a variance from the requirements of 6 NYCRR § 360-1.7 which prohibits siting of solid waste management facilities within a regulated wetland. The applicant proposes to site this water-dependent facility within the littoral zone. Accordingly, pursuant to 6 NYCRR § 661.11, the applicant is also requesting a variance from the requirements of 6 NYCRR § 661.6(a)(1) which requires a minimum setback of 30 feet (in New York City) from the landward edge of any tidal wetland for all structures.
SEQRA STATUS: Pursuant to the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA, ECL Article 8), on December 20, 1999, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and New York City Department of Sanitation, as co-lead agencies, jointly determined that the proposed project is an unlisted action (as defined by 6 NYCRR § 617.2 [ak]) that will not have a significant adverse effect on the environment.
STATE HISTORIC PRESERVATION ACT DETERMINATION: Based on an assessment, the proposed project will not cause any change to registered, eligible, or inventoried archeological sites.
PUBLIC HEARING: For the receipt of public comment, a legislative hearing session on the application will be held at the IS-74 Auditorium, 730 Bryant Avenue, Bronx, New York 10474 on Wednesday, March 8, 2000 beginning at 6:00 p.m. All persons, organizations, corporations, or government agencies who may be affected by the proposed project are invited to attend the hearing and to submit oral or written comments on the application. While it is not necessary to file in advance to speak at the hearing, lengthy comments should be submitted in writing at the hearing. Parties may also file written comments with the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services (OHMS) at the address indicated below provided they are postmarked no later than March 16, 2000. Equal weight will be given to both oral and written statements. The administrative law judge (ALJ) may restrict the time available to 5 minutes for each person, to ensure that all persons will have an opportunity to be heard. The hearing will be conducted pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures).
The hearing location is reasonably accessible to persons with a mobility impairment. Interpreter services will be made available to deaf persons and non-English speaking persons, at no charge, upon written request to the ALJ identified below at least ten (10) business days prior to the date of the hearing.
ISSUES CONFERENCE: A pre-adjudicatory hearing issues conference will be held at the IS-74 Auditorium, 730 Bryant Avenue, Bronx, New York 10474 on March 9 at 10:00 a.m. and, if necessary, continuing to March 10, 2000. The purpose of the issues conference is to define, narrow, and resolve, if possible, the issues concerning the permit application that are proposed as subjects for adjudication in the adjudicatory portion of the hearing. Participation at the issues conference shall be limited to the Department staff, the applicant, and those persons requesting party status pursuant to 6 NYCRR §§ 624.4 and 624.5 in advance of the issues conference. Following the issues conference, the participants will be advised of the ALJ's rulings on party status and issues and if the adjudicatory hearing is to be canceled or scheduled to commence at a later date. The ALJ's determination whether to conduct an adjudicatory hearing shall be based on whether issues proposed at the conference are substantive and significant, in accordance with 6 NYCRR § 624.4(c). Only those persons granted party status may participate in the adjudicatory phase of the hearing, if one is necessary. If there are no filings for party status, or if any filed objections are withdrawn and all issues satisfactorily resolved, the issues conference will be canceled, as will any adjudicatory hearing.
FILINGS FOR PARTY STATUS AND PROPOSED ISSUES: In order to participate at the issues conference and at any subsequent adjudicatory hearing, parties must file a written petition requesting party status, including the facts intended for presentation, pursuant to 6 NYCRR §§ 624.5 and 624.4(c). Mere opposition to the project is not a sufficient basis to be granted party status. A petition must fully identify the proposed party and the name(s) of the person or persons who will act as representative of the party; the petitioner's environmental interest in the proceeding; any interest relating to statutes administered by the Department relevant to the project; whether the petition is for full party status or amicus status; and the precise grounds for opposition to, or support of, the project. If a petitioner seeks full party status, the petition must identify a proposed issue which could result in permit denial, major modification of the proposed project or the imposition of significant permit conditions. Petitioners must identify specific regulatory requirements which they assert will not be met and fully set forth the reasons why they believe each such specific legal requirement is not met, and identify the witnesses and the nature of the evidence each witness expects to present in the event the hearing proceeds to the adjudicatory phase and the grounds upon which each witness' assertion is made with respect to that issue. If a petitioner intends to rely upon expert testimony, the petitioner must identify each such proposed expert witness, the qualifications of each such witness, a summary of the subject matter on which each such witness is offered as an expert, a summary of each conclusion or opinion which the witness will offer, and a summary of the facts upon which each expert conclusion or opinion is based. If a petitioner seeks amicus status, the petition must identify the nature of the legal or policy issue(s) to be briefed which meet the criteria set forth in 6 NYCRR § 624.4(c), and provide a statement explaining why the petitioner is in a special position with respect to the identified issue(s). Persons having similar interests are encouraged to file as a consolidated party. All PETITIONS REQUESTING PARTY STATUS MUST BE RECEIVED AT THE OFFICE OF HEARINGS AND MEDIATION SERVICES NO LATER THAN 4:00 PM ON MARCH 1, 2000. SUCH FILINGS SHOULD BE SUBMITTED TO: HELENE G. GOLDBERGER, ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE, OFFICE OF HEARINGS and MEDIATION SERVICES, NEW YORK STATE DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, ROOM 423, 50 WOLF ROAD, ALBANY, NEW YORK 12233-1550; TELEPHONE (518) 457-3468. No faxes or electronic filings please. At the same time and in the same manner, all petitioners must also send a copy of their complete filing to: John Nehila, Assistant Regional Attorney, NYSDEC, Region 2, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, New York 11101 and J. Kevin Healy, Esq., Robinson, Silverman, Pearce, Arohnson & Berman, LLP, 1290 Avenue of the Americas, New York, New York 10104.
DOCUMENT AVAILABILITY: The permit application, Environmental Assessment Statement, draft permit, SEQRA Determination, and Permit Hearing Procedures are available for public review at the following locations:
1. NYSDEC Office of Hearings and Mediation Services, 50 Wolf Road, Room 423, Albany, NY 12233-1550.
2. NYSDEC Region 2, 47-40 21st Street, Long Island City, NY 11101. Contact: Jeffrey Rabkin (718) 482-4997.
3. The Point Community Development Corporation, 940 Garrison Avenue, Bronx, NY 10474
4. Hunts Point Awareness Committee, 726 Coster Street, Bronx, NY 10474
5. We Stay/Nos Quedamos, 811 Courtlandt Avenue, Bronx, NY 10451
6. NYC Dept. of City Planning, One Fordham Plaza, Bronx, NY 10458
7. Bronx Community Board No. 2, 1029 E. 163rd Street, 10459
STATUTORY AND REGULATORY PROVISIONS: Environmental Conservation Law Article 1 (General Provisions); Article 3, Title 3 (General Functions); Article 8 (State Environmental Quality Review Act); Article 15, Title 5 (Protection of Water); Article 25 (Tidal Wetlands); Article 27 (Waste and Refuse); Article 70 (Uniform Procedures); and 6 NYCRR Part 360 (Solid Waste Management Facilities); Part 608 (Use and Protection of Waters); Part 661 (Tidal Wetlands); Part 617 (SEQRA); Part 621 (Uniform Procedures); Part 624 (Permit Hearing Procedures); Article 42 of the Executive Law and 19 NYCRR Part 600 (Coastal Zone).
CHIEF ADMINISTRATIVE LAW JUDGE
Albany, New York
December 30, 1999