New York's Department of Sanitation (DSNY) has been looking for alternatives since a Progressive Waste Solutions subsidiary — IESI NY Corporation — withdrew its proposal to export waste from two Brooklyn marine transfer stations last week. The $3.3 billion 20-year deal would have sent waste to a container terminal on Staten Island and then shipped it by rail upstate to the Seneca Meadows Landfill. Community opposition to the plan and Progressive's pending merger with Waste Connections were cited as factors in the decision.
DSNY confirmed it is reviewing submissions from the previous request for proposal (RFP) that went out in 2014. A spokesperson for the agency said that unlike in a bidding process, names of the companies involved will not be made public.
Waste Dive has verified that Waste Management and Covanta were among the companies which submitted proposals in 2014.
Who will spearhead the waste exportation?
This is the latest headache in DSNY's ongoing waste export saga since the city's Fresh Kills landfill closed in 2001. While significant progress has been made in recent years, construction on most of the city's marine transfer station stations is still behind schedule and short-term contracts with private transfer stations are still being used.
The Hamilton Avenue MTS — one of two involved in this export contract — has been almost ready for more than a year. Yet unexpected delays in IESI's export plans held up the station's completion and it will now sit dormant a little longer.
Waste Management, Covanta, or Republic Services would seem to be the most expedient options for the Brooklyn export deal as all are already registered with DSNY for long-term contracts.
Waste Management currently handles waste for export via three rail transfer stations — Harlem River Yards, Varick Street, and Review Avenue. The company also pre-processes organic waste for the city's Newtown Creek anaerobic digester. A representative from Waste Management confirmed their submission to the original RFP but had no further comment.
Covanta currently exports waste from the North Shore MTS and will handle the East 91st Street MTS once it's complete. The company also handles a portion of Manhattan's waste at its Essex facility in Newark, NJ.
James Regan, director of communications and media relations for Covanta, confirmed the company's previous submission to the RFP and left the door open to potential interest in a new deal.
"As the only energy-from-waste operator we can help the city reach their goal of zero waste to landfill and we have experience with marine transfer stations," Regan told Waste Dive.
Republic Services currently exports waste from DSNY's Staten Island transfer station. The company declined to comment on whether it submitted a response to the original RFP.
DSNY has not given a timeline for resolving export plans for the two Brooklyn marine transfer stations, but a spokesperson said they are, "moving quickly to finalize a contract with another vendor."