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Fresh Kills Gas Flaring Project - Hearing Report, June 26, 1998

Hearing Report, June 26, 1998

STATE OF NEW YORK : DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233-1550

In the Matter

- of the -

Application of the New York City Department of Sanitation for
an air pollution permit pursuant to Article 19 of the Environmental Conservation Law and
Part 201 of Title 6 of the New York Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations for the
Fresh Kills Landfill Gas Collection and Flaring Project in Staten Island, New York.

DEC Project No. 2-6403-00011/00063

Summary Hearing Report

- by -

____________/s/____________
Helene G. Goldberger
Administrative Law Judge

June 26, 1998

Proceedings

Background

The applicant, the New York City Department of Sanitation (DOS), applied to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (Department or DEC) for an air pollution control permit to install a gas collection and enclosed flaring system at the Fresh Kills landfill on Staten Island. The purpose of this system is to mitigate the odors that now emanate from the landfill and to capture the fugitive emissions that are generated by the decomposition of solid wastes buried in the landfill. Landfill gas is comprised of methane, carbon dioxide, non-methane organic compounds, and other constituents. While the landfill is scheduled to close by December 31, 2001, the gases that are emitted currently and that will continue to be generated after the landfill is closed, require remedial action. The system will include installation of ten flares (9 active and one standby) for combustion of the landfill gas emission. The system has been designed to meet new federal requirements for existing landfills set forth in Part 60, Subpart WWW of Title 40 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR). The Department's permit pursuant to Part 201 of Title 6 of the New York Compilation of Codes, Rules, and Regulations (6 NYCRR) includes provisions designed to satisfy federal "Prevention of Significant Deterioration" of air quality permit requirements pursuant to 40 CFR Part 52 and State "New Source Review" permit requirements pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 231. The Department has determined that the emissions from the operation of the flares will meet all of these air pollution control requirements. Eventually, DOS plans to provide for a concession that will use the collected gas beneficially.

Concerning the State Environmental Quality Review Act, the lead agency for this project is the Department of Sanitation which issued a negative declaration dated April 15, 1998.

Legislative Hearing

Pursuant to the hearing notices published in the May 13, 1998 editions of the Environmental Notice Bulletin and Staten Island Advance, the legislative hearing was held at the College of Staten Island at 7 p.m. on May 22, 1998. A public information meeting was held on the evening of May 26, 1998 at the Seaview Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on Staten Island for the purposes of providing a description of the project and answering questions from the public. This meeting was also noticed in the ENB and Staten Island Advance. Approximately 25 people were in attendance; the majority of the audience was comprised of government officials, the applicant's consultants and representatives, and representatives of Staten Island Citizens for Clean Air, all of whom have been involved in a lengthy process to design this project so that there could be consensus reached on the collection and flaring system.

DOS Deputy Commissioner Martha Hirst spoke on behalf of the applicant and provided a brief summary of the project and its goals as well as the collaborative process among federal, state, local officials, and community representatives that resulted in the project's acceptance. DEC Regional Attorney Laurie Silberfeld summarized the staff's position that the draft permit met state requirements through the established limits. In addition, Ms. Silberfeld described the stack testing and monitoring requirements that will ensure that the system attains the capture of landfill gases as proposed. Nicholas Dmytryszyn, Assistant to Borough President Guy Molinari, spoke in support of the project and the positive results that would be observed almost immediately. He also expressed thanks to the EPA, DEC, and DOS staff as well as the Staten Island Citizens for Clean Air for participating in the process to ensure the public's interests were met. Catherine DiDomenico spoke on behalf of Congressman Vito Fossella in support of the project and expressed optimism over the fact that there was now a closing date for the landfill that was seen as an environmental injustice to Staten Island. Ms. DiDomenico also expressed thanks to the government entities -- federal, state, and local -- that worked together to resolve issues concerning this beneficial project.

The last speaker of the evening was Barbara Warren representing Staten Island Citizens for Clean Air. While Ms. Warren spoke favorably of the project and the conditions that were made part of the draft permit, she stated that it was essential to remember that the major issue was the landfill closure and that the date -- December 31, 2001 -- should be incorporated into the permit. In addition, Ms. Warren raised a few other concerns such as need for monitoring to address stress impacts resulting from potential settling and subsequent instability; the need for an inspection checklist; a provision for a collection efficiency requirement through a focused field-monitoring program; a permit change related to the surface monitoring program so that this monitoring goes from quarterly to semi-annual for one year after four quarters of no exceedances; provision for system upgrades as new and proven technologies are available; and an off-site monitoring program focused on emissions. Ms. Warren also stated that DOS should be required to fund an environmental benefit project due to the serious environmental problems caused by the operation of the landfill.

Issues Conference

Pursuant to the hearing notices, the issues conference was held on June 23, 1998 at 10 a.m. in Staten Island Borough Hall. Ms. Jane Houdek and Mr. Joseph Saab of the New York City Corporation Counsel's office represented the applicant and Ms. Silberfeld represented staff. In addition to the State and DOS representatives, Mr. Dmytryszyn was also in attendance on behalf of the Borough President. No petitions for party status were received by the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services. Because the Department staff and the applicant are in agreement regarding the project and the conditions contained in the draft permit, there are no issues for adjudication and there will be no further proceedings in this matter. We used the issues conference to confirm the contents of the application and the draft permit. These documents along with the hearing notices and affidavits of publication were marked as issues conference exhibits as follows:

Exhibit 1 - Notice of Hearing.

Exhibit 2 - Notice of Hearing published in 5/13/98 ENB.

Exhibit 3a) - Notice of Hearing published in 5/13/98 Staten Island Advance & affidavit of publication.

3b) - Notice of Public Information Meeting in 5/13/98 Staten Island Advance & affidavit of publication.

Exhibit 4 - Notice of Change in Location of Public Information Meeting.

Exhibit 5 - Notice of Change in Location of Public Information Meeting published in 5/20/98 ENB.

Exhibit 6 - Negative Declaration - Dep't of Sanitation - 4/15/98.

Exhibit 7 - Draft permit.

Exhibit 8a) - Application - Vol. 1 of 2 - April 1998.

8b) - Computer Modeling Output - Volume 1.

8c) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report and Appendix AA: Overview of Fresh Kills. (Book 1 of 13).

8d) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix BB: Sequential Fill Plans. (Book 2 of 13).

8e) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix BB - Sequential Fill Plans. (Book 3 of 13).

8f) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix BB - Sequential Fill Plans. (Book 4 of 13).

8g) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix BB - Sequential Fill Plans. (Book 5 of 13).

8h) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix CC: Flare Station Drawings for Sections 2/8, 3/4, 6/7, and 1/9. (Book 6 of 13).

8i) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix CC: Flare Station Drawing for Sections 2/8, 3/4, 6/7, and 1/9. (Book 7 of 13).

8j) - Vol. 2 - Engineering Report - Appendix CC: Flare Station Drawings for Sections 2/8, 3/4, 6/7, and 1/9. (Book 8 of 13).

8k) - Vol. 2 Engineering Report - Appendix CC: Flare Station Drawings for Sections 2/8, 3/4, 6/7, and 1/9. (Book 9 of 13).

8l) - Vol. 2 Engineering Report - Appendix DD: Flare Station Specifications. (Book 10 of 13).

8m) - Vol. 2 Engineering Report - Appendix EE: Landfill Cover Design for Blower - Stations 3/4 and 6/7 - Revised 2/19/98. (Book 11 of 13).

8n) - Vol. 2 Engineering Report - Appendix GG: Engineering Evaluation of Landfill - Gas Extraction System Layout for Section 6/7 Closure (Book 12 of 13).

8o) - Vol. 2 Engineering Report - Appendix HH: Engineering Report for Proposed Landfill Gas Extraction System for Section 1/9; Appendix II Air Flow: Modeling Supporting Information; Appendix JJ : Condensate Information; Appendix KK: Above Ground Condensate Storage Tank Information. (Book 13 of 13).

Exhibit 9 - June 22, 1998 letter from DEC Attorney Paul Gallay to Barbara Warren (response to comments submitted by Ms. Warren at the legislative hearing on behalf of Staten Island Citizens for Clean Air dated June 22, 1998).

The Department staff and the applicant's representatives reviewed the issues conference exhibits and concluded that the draft permit was complete and accurate. We ended the issues conference with the parties confirming that they were in agreement on the project and the permit conditions.

Conclusion and Order of Disposition

The lack of much active citizen participation at the legislative hearing and the issues conference should not be misconstrued as lack of interest by the public. Rather, it is clear that the government entities worked conscientiously with local citizen and government representatives over a lengthy period to ensure that the outcome was acceptable to all. Accordingly, I am remanding the application back to the Region 2 staff for issuance of the permit to DOS.

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