Farmingville, NY – Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine and members of the Town Board today announced that the Town will not pursue construction of a regional municipal ashfill or an ash recycling facility after projected costs associated with the construction of the facility vastly exceeded initial cost estimates. The Town will continue to use its existing facility in Yaphank until it reaches capacity under its existing permit, and will then handle residential municipal waste in the same way nearly all other municipalities have since 1989 when New York law closed other Long Island landfills.
“When New York passed the Long Island Landfill Law, the State was supposed to create laws to reduce the waste stream, increase recycling and create regional solutions for waste management. That was never done. When our facility reaches capacity under its current permit we will stop taking in material and handle our waste in the same manner as every other Town on Long Island has since 1989 when their landfills closed,” said Supervisor Romaine. “To solve Long Island’s garbage crisis, the State must address the source of the problem – by regulating excessive packaging, mandating the use of recycled material and creating new recycling markets so the material our residents sort for recycling have a place to go.”
“Brookhaven Town, and our taxpayers, are no longer going to provide the regional solution for Long Island’s waste problem,” said Councilman Michael Loguercio. “As this facility prepares to close, we are already taking steps to transform it into an energy park to provide clean, alternative energy for our local power grid.”
At the start of his administration, Brookhaven Supervisor Ed Romaine cancelled plans to expand the existing landfill that would have increased the height by 70 feet. By doing this, the Town’s existing waste management facility is set to close in the coming years when it reaches the maximum capacity allowed under its existing permit.
To continue to serve the waste management needs of Town residents, and fill the void for a regional waste solution, the Town announced plans for a Regional Refuse and Recycling Facility (RRRF) in 2017 as part of its application for a New York State Municipal Consolidation and Efficiency Grant. This highly engineered facility would accept only ash from waste-to-energy plants and cover material, but no construction and demolition debris which has historically been the source of occasional odor events. By continuing to accept ash, as the Town has for more than 30 years, the Town sought to provide its residents and other municipalities with a safe, regulated, and affordable means of locally disposing their residential waste.
However, preliminary cost estimates for the full build out of the proposed new facility ballooned from $32.25 million to over $178 million. The average annual debt service over the proposed 20-year operational period is estimated to be approximately $10.4 million.
Concurrently, the Town received a sole response to its Request for Proposals for enhanced ash processing and recycling. The sole bidder for this recycling facility failed to adequately address the components of the RFP, required a large capital investment by the town without significant revenue to offset the cost, and as proposed did not guarantee a significant amount of ash being recycled or reused.
The Supervisor and Councilmembers thanked the members of the Town of Brookhaven Ad-Hoc Committee for Solid Waste Disposal for their work over the past several months as an independent body analyzing waste management in the Town and raising a number of important issues. Their report and recommendations highlighted the complex issues surrounding waste management on Long Island, and the need to explore outsourcing municipal solid waste collection and disposal to private industry.
Brookhaven Town will utilize the existing facility on Horseblock Road in Yaphank until it reaches the capacity allowed under the current permit, continuing to cap and close the landfill as it is filled.