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Jul 15, 2014 2:45 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Trash Backs Up On East End Because Of Gas Prices, Heavy Traffic

Jul 15, 2014 3:01 PM

High gas prices, traffic and mechanical breakdowns have resulted in a pile-up of garbage generated on the East End this summer that now could be exacerbated by a looming Long Island Rail Road strike.

Garbage from East End towns has been piling up at transfer sites in Brookhaven, Islip and Patchogue for weeks, and some local municipal facilities and private garbage collection companies are starting to feel the effects of the backlog.

“We probably have five or six loads on the tipping floor at all times now,” East Hampton Town Highway Superintendent Steven Lynch said this week. “Usually, we would be cleaned out every day. But usually they would be taking four trailers full every day in summertime. This year, it has only been two a day, or sometimes three, because they’re having a hard time moving it.”

East Hampton and other East End towns haul their non-recyclable garbage to sorting and baling facilities in western Suffolk County, where it is compacted and baled before being loaded onto trucks and hauled to permanent disposal sites in West Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio. Typically, the garbage is simply buried in the ground. In West Virginia and Pennsylvania, it is often stuffed into abandoned coal mines.

Recyclable materials are taken to one of a number of recycling facilities, where they are sorted and sold. The trash backup has not affected the transfer of recyclable materials.

East Hampton Town pays an up-island garbage company to pick up its trailers stuffed with non-recyclable trash, known as municipal solid waste, or MSW. Southampton Town hauls its own trailers to the baling facilities, so Southampton has not been saddled with its own backlog of refuse, according to the town’s director of facilities management, Christine Fetten.

But the trucking companies that typically would haul the bales away from the baling facilities have resisted sending their trucks out to eastern Long Island in the summertime, because of the time required to negotiate the traffic getting past New York City and out to Suffolk County. The result has been a backlog of 10,000 tons of trash, according to local officials, all collected from the South Fork and North Fork, that has stacked up at the up-island storage facilities.

Calls and emails to the offices of the two companies that operate baling facilities that take garbage from East Hampton and Southampton were not returned.

Southampton Town paid $400,000 to dispose of its solid waste in 2013, according to Ms. Fetten. Mr. Lynch said East Hampton ships off about 9,000 tons of waste deposited by residential disposal permit holders and another 2,500 to 3,000 tons of commercial waste. The town pays $84 per ton to dispose of its non-recyclable waste.

Skip Norsic, owner of Emil Norsic & Son Inc. in Southampton, said the backups are causing the baling companies to raise prices to private carters.

“At first they came to us and said it was getting much more expensive to handle waste, so they increased our price—okay, we understood that,” Mr. Norsic said. “But then when this backlog started to pile up, they wouldn’t ... accept it from us anymore. Luckily, we had another facility in Babylon that said they would help us out ... but they’re all charging more because of this.”

Last week, Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Department of Environmental Conservation said that they had brokered a deal to have the trash hauled away to Kentucky on trains. But the LIRR strike, which could start Sunday if a last-minute agreement isn’t reached, would presumably derail that approach.

“It has eased up a little bit,” Mr. Norsic said, “but if the strike happens, then it’s a whole new ballgame.”

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Interesting and informative story. Well written.
By Zorro (66), Southampton on Jul 15, 14 4:43 PM
Agreed - one of the better articles as of late. Lots of information
By Nature (2966), Hampton Bays on Jul 15, 14 8:03 PM
Garbage Barge 2014!
By Jaws (244), Amity Island on Jul 15, 14 9:21 PM
Rail is the most cost effective means of getting trash off this island.

If you have a spur, you may want to look into a facility...
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jul 15, 14 9:44 PM
To avoid the Big Oil gasoline price rip-off, plug your Tesla S electric car into your household, solar array. Google and read the "Global Oil Scam." The US is a victim of this scam.
By EarlRichards (1), on Jul 16, 14 3:19 AM
The freight should have nothing to od with the passenger rail and they could possibly divert another railroad to pick it up. Again the unions holding the people hostage. Alternatively sounds like an opportunity for a trucking company to charge enough and move out the trash.
By North Sea Citizen (564), North Sea on Jul 16, 14 6:21 AM
"The wealth of the country, its capital, its credit, must be saved from the predatory poor as well as the predatory rich, but above all from the predatory politician."

~ James J. Hill

“I can hire one half of the working class to kill the other half.”

~ Jay Gould, the "Mephistopheles of Wall Street”
By Mr. Z (11670), North Sea on Jul 16, 14 8:58 AM
So let's just add a CVS onto Montauk Highway so that traffic will never move.
The residents of East Hampton Town should be yelling about CVS far louder than anyone in Bridgehampton; they will never get through that intersection.
There is no room to position high-volume curb cuts on that corner--entering and exiting cars at all hours will block traffic from moving through the light. Imagine 2-3 cars moving westward on Montauk Highway per light. And how will hourly ambulances get through ...more
By BH11932 (10), Bridgehampton on Jul 16, 14 5:28 PM
power tools, home improvements, building supplies, Eastern Long Island