The Plainview-Old Bethpage Board of Education opposes the possible expansion of Oyster Bay’s solid-waste facility and has asked for an extension of the public comment period on a waste management plan.
The town is considering building new solid-waste and recycling facilities on the Old Bethpage landfill and waste transfer station that could take garbage from other municipalities, according to town documents and officials.
A 45-day public comment period for the town’s local solid-waste management plan ends on Friday. The town is required to address the comments in its submission to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for plan approval.
The local solid waste management plan is intended to evaluate current practices, consider future options and set steps for implementation over 10 years, a DEC spokesman said. Oyster Bay’s last 10-year plan expired in 2012, the spokesman added.
“Our primary concern is the close proximity of the site to the Old Bethpage Elementary School (where children play outdoors throughout the day), as well as residential homes and senior citizens,” the school board’s Jan. 7 letter stated. “The proposed expansion creates the potential for exhaust from idling trucks, odors, pest problems, and other issues which will put the health and comfort of our students, our staff and our residents at risk.”
The letter called to extend the public comment period for at least a month and to hold a public forum “so the community can fully understand what is being proposed and what the impact will be.”
In a Jan. 15 letter to the school board, town Public Works Commissioner Richard Lenz and Deputy Public Works Commissioner John Tassone wrote, “The public comment process and actions taken by the town exceeded the DEC requirements.”
“We seek only to modernize the transfer station,” the town's letter said, adding that modernization would “reduce truck traffic.”
The plan details the town’s handling of garbage and recycling through 2028, including options to build new facilities. It includes a schedule to implement a land-use master plan, that “is being developed,” that envisions redeveloping the Old Bethpage solid-waste disposal site, including potentially building a recycling facility as soon as 2026.
“The land currently leased at the north end of the site and the current compost pickup area could be transformed into a consolidated and coordinated town waste management complex" that could be leased as a recycling facility to a contractor, according to the solid-waste plan.
During a hearing on the plan to the Town Board on Dec. 10, Matthew Russo, head of engineering at the town public works department, said the town was preparing a request for proposals for vendors to handle solid waste.
“It is anticipated that the RFP will request proposals for the construction and operation of a new MSW [Municipal Solid Waste] and recyclables handling facility at the Old Bethpage Solid Waste Disposal Complex which could allow for waste reduction processing and the handling of recyclables from neighboring municipalities for potential revenue generation,” Russo told the board.
The Lenz/Tassone letter appeared to contradict Russo, stating “the town will not be pursuing any contracts which will allow outside MSW.”
Possible site improvements
- Expand and consolidate resident drop-off facilities on the northwest end of the site
- New recycling station
- Solar farm
- Demolition of old incinerator building
- Build new waste management complex, including recycling facility
- SOURCE: Draft Oyster Bay Local Solid Waste Management Plan