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September 2007

Waste Management to haul Bronx waste by rail

New York Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and sanitation commissioner John J. Doherty announced that all Bronx residential and municipal waste - approximately 2,100 tons per day - is now being exported for final disposal by rail, rather than by truck.

The $1 billion, 20-year contract was awarded to Waste Management of New York, LLC (WM). In May, Staten Island became the first borough to have household waste exported by train rather than truck after Mayor Bloomberg reactivated the Staten Island railroad. Staten Island exports 950 tons per day of household waste using the new rail link. The solid waste management plan (SWMP) enables a comprehensive approach to managing the city’s 12,000 daily tons of solid waste by emphasizing waste reduction, recycling, and a sound, equitable method for each borough to handle its own waste. Under the plan, the exportation of waste by rail will mean that trucks will travel 5.7 million fewer miles on city streets.

“Getting truck traffic off of city streets is a hallmark of our solid waste management plan and residents across the Bronx will benefit from this important change,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “Since the SWMP was overwhelmingly adopted by the City Council, implementation has been swift. With the addition of marine transfer stations and additional contracts to transport waste over rail, soon the entire city will join the Bronx and Staten Island by disposing of waste in an environmentally-friendly and sustainable way.”

The contract with Waste Management was signed on August 10th, and the exportation of waste by rail under the new contract began on that day. Under prior interim contracts, Waste Management managed 1,600 tons of waste per day, and Waste Services of New York managed 500 tons of waste per day. Household refuse from the Bronx’s 12 Department of Sanitation districts is collected and brought to the Harlem River Yard where it is containerized, placed on waiting rail cars, and shipped out-of-state. Under the previous system, all waste was brought to private waste transfer stations and then trucked out-of-state by tractor trailers over highways and interstates. Bronx recyclables are not part of this contract, and will continue to be managed by local recycling vendors.

The SWMP, which was overwhelmingly adopted by the City Council and approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, establishes a cost-effective, reliable and environmentally sound system for managing the city’s waste for the next 20 years.