Angry Bensonhurst residents made a stink about a proposed garbage-transfer station on the shore of Gravesend Bay — but city officials say they’re pushing on with the plan.
More than 250 residents stormed a public hearing on Monday held by the Department of Sanitation, which says the proposed waste station at the end of Bay 41st Street is a key part of the city’s solid waste management plan.
Sanitation Assistant Commissioner Harry Szarpanski ticked through a PowerPoint slide show in an effort to ease community concerns.
First, he described how garbage trucks will dump their foul contents into lidded containers, and how those containers will then be loaded onto tugboats before the garbage has a chance to putrify.
“All waste [is] processed in [an] enclosed building that maintains megative air pressure to prevent escape of odors,” he said. “[Our] treatment system neutralizes (not masks) odor in building exhaust.”
He also said that 11,000 tons of garbage would be transferred through the station every week — two-thirds less than older Sanitation transfer stations are allowed to process.
Residents at standing room-only meeting quickly told Szarpanski where he could dump his plan.
Assemblyman William Colton (D–Bensonhurst), who has led the charge against the waste-transfer station, spoke first.
“This is an environmental injustice and it is something the community will not stand for,” he said. “This could be the beginning of a long struggle. This could very well end up in court.”
Thirty-six residents followed Colton to the Shore Parkway Jewish Center microphone, each one attacking the proposed station as poorly planned and environmentally unsafe, in a raucous meeting that lasted more than three hours.
As previously reported in The Brooklyn Paper, part of the plan includes dredging the bay to accommodate the tugboats that will ferry south Brooklyn trash from the proposed facility to out-of-state landfills. Many residents said the dredging would release toxins that have long been buried in the soil.
“It will release harmful chemicals, and they’ll end up on my customers’ dinner plates,” said Bryan Thomas, who owns Marine Basin Marina next door to the proposed station.
Thomas often fishes for flounder and striped bass in the bay.
Later, sisters Angela and Amanda Speciale — ages 14 and 12 — added their concerns about the bay’s water.
“We don’t want there to be bunch of chemicals that we can’t even pronounce in the bay,” said Angela.
Monday’s public hearing ultimately carried no weight. The Sanitation Department has applied to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for a permit to build its “Southwest Brooklyn Converted Transfer Station.”
If the application is judged complete, then the DEC will hold its own public hearings on the merits of the proposal, after which the permit will be either issued or denied.