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Oyster Bay may let outside recyclables in at town landfill in Old Bethpage

In seeking a new contractor to haul and

In seeking a new contractor to haul and dispose of municipal waste, the town is giving bidders the option to upgrade existing facilities at the Old Bethpage landfill or build new facilities. Credit: Debbie Egan-Chin

The Town of Oyster Bay may allow a contractor to accept recyclable materials from other municipalities at the Old Bethpage landfill, according to a request for proposals.

In seeking a new contractor to haul and dispose of municipal waste, the town is giving bidders the option to upgrade existing facilities at the landfill or build new facilities "since the current transfer station is nearing the end of its service life," the RFP said.

The town will accept bids from contractors who propose accepting recyclable materials generated outside of the contract’s geographical coverage area.

"This does not necessarily mean the town is actively seeking to process outside recyclables at its facility, nor does it intend to directly contract for such an arrangement," the RFP stated. "Rather it is willing to consider such proposals as a financial incentive to help underpin the construction of new facilities."

Such arrangements would require town approval and may require changes to the town code, according to the RFP.

The Plainview-Old Bethpage school board raised concerns earlier this year about the potential expansion of operations at the landfill. In a Jan. 7 letter to Town Supervisor Joseph Saladino, the board said it worried about the potential risks at the expanded site from idling trucks, odors and pest problems that could affect students at nearby Old Bethpage Elementary School.

Town officials were quick to respond to the school board that municipal solid waste would not be coming from other municipalities, and the RFP states that nonrecyclable waste from outside the district cannot be processed there under the contract. It also specifies that trucks hauling waste would reach the landfill by traveling on State Route 110 and then approaching the site from the east on Bethpage-Sweet Hollow/Bethpage-Spagnoli Road to avoid traveling through residential neighborhoods.

Richard Cunningham, assistant superintendent for business at the school district, said Friday that he had not seen the RFP.

"We continue to be very concerned about any impact on the health and welfare of the Plainview-Old Bethpage community, especially those who would be adjacent to the solid waste disposal complex in Old Bethpage," Cunningham said in an interview. "The school district needs to do a deeper review of the RFP to see if all the concerns are being met."

Cunningham said the school board had expected to see the RFP earlier in the year but it had become focused on the pandemic.

Town spokesman Brian Nevin wrote in an email that the town addressed resident concerns with the designated route that avoids trucks going through residential neighborhoods and by not accepting solid waste from outside municipalities.

"The town is seeking proposals to modernize the complex, move operations indoors to reduce odors, and remove eyesores on the property, including the old incinerator and smokestacks — thereby replacing them with green infrastructure and solar panels," Nevin wrote in the email.

Though the RFP is a public document, Oyster Bay public works commissioner Richard Lenz wrote in an email that a copy had been released to a resident by mistake.

"This document was always meant for a vendor to provide information on how they would handle the town’s MSW [municipal solid waste] and recyclables," Lenz wrote. "It was never meant for the residents to read as a novel."

The solid waste complex is on 135 acres of town property and includes a 40,000-square-foot solid-waste transfer station; a facility to weigh garbage and recyclables; a landfill gas collection system; treatment facility for water that percolates through municipal waste; and a vehicle maintenance garage, offices and two incinerators that are not in use.

WASTE REMOVAL CONTRACT

Responses due: Dec. 18

Contract length without constructing new facilities: 5 years, with option to extend for an additional 5 years.

Contract length with construction of new facilities: 10 years, with option to extend for an additional 10 years.

Source: Oyster Bay Request for Proposals

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