Clean Up at World Trade Center to Take Many Months
By Trish Thiel

Photo courtesy of Metal Management
Torch cutters at Metal Management Port Newark Terminal in New Jersey cut structural steel beams from the World Trade Center. The beams Metal Management has received are from three to eight inches thick. Metal Management has won several bids for the structural steel, so far totaling about 70,000 tons. The company has received about 25,000 tons as of October.

As American military started an offensive against the Taliban in Afghanistan last month, the clean up in New York City and the Pentagon continues.

It is estimated that the search for victims and the clean up of the World Trade Center "Ground Zero" will take nine months. The collapse of the buildings at the World Trade Center created an estimated 1.5 million to 2 million tons of debris. According to Kathy Dawkins, public information office for the NYC Department of Sanitation, about 10,000 tons of debris are being removed from the area each day. As of October 24, about 400,000 tons of debris have been removed.

Ms. Dawson said that the goal now is to get the debris out of the area as quickly as possible. NYC has been able to use their own people on staff at the sanitation department in the debris recovery area.

The Army Corps of Engineers has been assisting the City of New York with this disaster. Bob Faletti, public affairs officer of the Corps of Engineers, said that the Corps has helped mostly by contracting out the help needed to manage the sorting of debris once it gets to Staten Island.

"The City gave $125 million to the Corps to improve the operations at the World Trade Center. One way we did this was to use our 'Advance Contract Initiative.' Several years ago the Corps asked for bids for debris management in unknown projects. Companies were preselected and contracted at that time. This sped up the disaster recovery because the bid process was taken care of earlier. In the Eastern Region, Phillips and Johnson, Inc. was the company selected. This company is assisting with sorting of debris, and the protection of the debris and workers. We and the City of New York are trying to use local equipment and local workers as much as possible."

Mr. Faletti said that two steel recycling plants in New Jersey have been selected to receive steel from Ground Zero. He said the steel is being cleaned up at the site and taken by barge to these companies. "It is more efficient to put the steel on a barge than to haul it through the streets," he added.

Other debris also is being taken by barge from Ground Zero. There are two docks running to help expedite the process and to keep streets from being tied up.

Two steel processors bid for the steel from the trade center. Huge Neu Schnizter Steel and Metal Management each were awarded 25,000 tons of the first 50,000 tons of steel to come from Ground Zero. Metal Management also has won two more bids for steel. These two scrap processors have offloaded 20,000 tons of structural steel beams.

The other debris is going to Fresh Kills Landfill. The Federal Bureau of Investigation and New York City Police Department are sifting through this debris for crime scene evidence.

Sarah Voss, public information officer for Waste Management, Inc. (WM), said that the company has donated a screen to help the FBI and NYCPD sift through the debris.

"Before the screen was provided they were using rakes and sifting through the debris by hand. This is a huge circular-type sifter that is automated and can be turned on and off by workers," she explained.

Fresh Kills Landfill has been closed since March and no longer accepts garbage. It is divided into four sections. Three of the sections had been capped and covered. The fourth section had not been capped yet. This 135-acre section is where the debris is being taken.

Waste Management also has an emergency response/disaster management program based in Atlanta. The person in charge of this was sent to NYC to work with the Federal Emergency Management Agency to help with handling the clean up. This program responds to other disasters such as hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and other natural disasters.

Photo courtesy of Metal Management
Unprocessed steel from the World Trade Center that was mangled by the terrorist attack on September 11. Alan Ratner, regional president Metal Management Northeast, said, "This is enormous. Think of the force that it takes to twist this steel like pretzels."

Recycling Materials

Alan Ratner, regional president of Metal Management Northeast, said, "As recyclers we have an important role to play to ensure that this steel is recycled in an environmentally responsible and safe manner. Recycling this steel will find a beneficial reuse for the material."

He added, "I have never seen such a collection of structural members of steel in my 26 some years in this business as is at our yard now."

Members of the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI) also have been donating time, money and experience to the clean up effort. ISRI members are lending a hand to NYC officials to ensure that all recyclable metal removed from the site of the World Trade Center is recycled through proper channels.

ISRI members mobilized their operations and personnel to handle one of the largest recycling jobs in U.S. history. Most of the recyclable metal at ground zero is being sent to the landfill on Staten Island, according to a press release from ISRI.

Law enforcement authorities survey the material for evidence. Only then is it released to a scrap processor under an existing long-term contract with the NYC Department of Sanitation to purchase and then recycle scrap metal. The scrap processor has established a processing center at Fresh Kills and has brought in mobile shears and torching equipment to cut down the metal. This is separate from the structural steel that is being sent by barge to two steel processors.

Photo courtesy of Metal Management
Steel from the World Trade Center as it arrives by barge at the Metal Management dock in Newark, New Jersey.


Protecting the Debris

ISRI has asked government officials to provide lists of all companies that have contracts with the city to remove recyclable metals from the site of the World Trade Center. Recyclers need this information to help thwart schemes by haulers or others who illegally obtain or divert scrap metal from the World Trade Center.

ISRI also has asked for photographs of the unique types of metals at the World Trade Center site so that recyclers can identify these materials should they be offered to them in ways other than through proper channels.

"We want to make sure our members have all the information they need to prevent haulers from inappropriately delivering material from the World Trade Center to their yards," said Robin Wiener, ISRI President. "They need to know what to look out for in case a hauler attempts to bring an unauthorized load of scrap metal to one of their facilities."

ISRI has issued an urgent notice to all its members in the NYC metropolitan area, which explains that all scrap metal from the World Trade Center is crime scene evidence, and only those under contract with NYC are authorized to haul it away from the site. The notice also explains where the various types of metals are going.

The New York Post reported that a Manhattan grand jury is investigating the heft of scrap metal from the WTC, The New York Post reported that a Manhattan grand jury is investigating the theft of scrap metal from the WTC, when more than 250 tons of crime scene material found its way into three scrap yards.

The Post report said 75 tons was found at a scrap metal yard on Long Island and 180 tons were found at two New Jersey yards. The newspaper cited unnamed law enforcement sources who believe that associates from "some of the city's five crime families" are involved.

The sources told the Post that they believe the metal was taken directly to the yards in the days immediately after the attack.

All of the scrap has been returned to Fresh Kills Landfill, according to the Post. The grand jury could charge the suspects with tampering with evidence, obstruction of justice, theft and conspiracy.

Photo courtesy of Metal Management

Photo courtesy of Metal Management
A crane and grapple at Metal Management pull a column from the barge.
Structural beams sit piled in a Metal Management yard awaiting processing. Most of the steel must be cut down into sizes that mills can handle, 5'x2' or smaller.


At the Pentagon, there is estimated to be 18,000 tons of debris at the crash site. Ms. Voss said that Waste Management has donated roll-off containers for use at the site. She said that Waste Management has been hired to haul the debris to a landfill.

"At the Pentagon, the debris is being sifted through at the site and then taken to the King George Landfill in King George, Virginia. This is an active landfill, but the Pentagon debris is being separated from the other trash there. Waste Management also notified the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality to inform them that they were transporting the Pentagon debris. We received the okay to do so from them," Ms. Voss said.

She added that many companies in Maryland have donated services, such as portable toilets to the site.

Donating Toward The Cause

Many companies have made donations of some sort toward the clean up and relief efforts of the World Trade Center, Pentagon and Pennsylvania crash. Others are setting up ways for their employees to donate. These are just a handful of companies making an effort.

Waste Management has donated safety equipment for workers including air monitors, safety vests, glasses, hard hats. Also for its own workers who need to go down to Manhattan to collect trash, the company has provided particle dust masks and safety suits.

The company also has donated $1 million toward the Twin Towers Fund and is collecting money from employees who would like to donate to the American Red Cross. Waste Management will match this donation up to $100,000.

Allied Waste Services has donated 20 cases of safety equipment including hard hats, gloves, safety glasses to the New York Fire Department and the Long Island Fire Department.

Bob Boucher, Northeast Regional Vice President, said that the company has been talking with the NYC mayor's office and the New York governor's office to let them know if they need anything from Allied Waste it is at their disposal. Mr. Boucher said that NYC has been using its five contractors and some construction companies.

Mr. Boucher added, "Some of our employees are on volunteer fire departments and have been traveling to Ground Zero to assist in the recovery efforts. We have made it easier for them to find substitutes so that they can make the trip."

He added some of their employees have now been called up for duty in the Armed Forces Reserves.

Marathon Equipment along with its parent company, Dover Corporation, made a $1,000,000 donation to the relief efforts in New York. It was with the victims' families in mind that Marathon and Dover made this charitable donation.

"Although it is not yet possible to advise the agencies to which these funds will be dispersed, I can assure you that we will put the funds where we are assured that the maximum amount goes to the families of the victims rather than to fund administration," says Tom Reece, Dover Corporation, CEO.

AK Steel contributed $50,000 to The American Red Cross in support of rescue and relief operations.

Richard M. Wardrop, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of AK Steel, presented the check to the Middletown Chapter of the American Red Cross.

"Just as swiftly as these cowardly forces attacked the United States, the citizens and allies of this great country are responding with every means available to them," said Mr. Wardrop. "Our nation will overcome this evil."

Alcoa has created an Alcoa Relief Fund to assist the victims of the terrorist attacks in New York, Washington, D.C., and Pennsylvania.

Initially, the company will build the Alcoa Relief Fund on a $2 million commitment. This is in addition to the $75,000 immediately donated by Alcoa Foundation to the Red Cross, to prompt deliveries of water, personal protective equipment, and other materials contributed by several Alcoa businesses.

Coupled with Alcoa's initial commitment of $2 million to this fund is the availability of a further $1 million from the company to match contributions made by Alcoa employees and retirees worldwide to accredited relief agencies serving the communities of New York or Washington, or to the families of victims of these events. The matching program includes donations made between September 11 and December 31, 2001.

"Alcoa's matching contribution will be added to the Alcoa Relief Fund to bolster the original $2 million," said Alcoa Chairman Alain Belda. "As events continue to unfold, it is our intention to apply these funds in the areas of greatest need."

Vivendi Environnement, an environmental services company, donated a rescue vehicle to the New York Fire Department as part of the company's New York Stock Exchange listing. The new pumper unit will replace one of the rescue vehicles lost during the events of September 11 at the World Trade Center.

The New York Fire Department lost approximately $47 million worth of equipment on September 11, including more than 40 rescue vehicles ranging from pumper and ladder trucks to rescue units and ambulances.

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