- Residential waste from Queens and Manhattan is making its way to Delaware now before reaching its final destination of a trash-to-electricity generator in Chester, PA. The trash is loaded onto 20-ton enclosed containers, shipped on barges to Staten Island, and loaded onto CSX trains that stop at the Transflo rail yard in Wilmington, DE.
- More than sixty times a day, the containers are transferred into heavy black trucks that carry the trash out of the rail yard and toward the Covanta Delaware Valley incinerator 22 miles away in Chester.
- New York will send 400,000 tons of trash a year to Covanta. The arrangement is part of a 20- to 30-year deal worth a potential $2.8 billion to the company.
The new pattern comes as New York has switched from truck-only shipments to rail-delivered containers for most of the trip. The deal is worth a potential $2.8 billion to Covanta. New York relies almost exclusively on out-of-state trash shipments since closing Fresh Kills Landfill on Staten Island in 2000, and a 2006 plan to reduce truck traffic and end concentration of transfer stations near poor neighborhoods meant each borough had to develop a marine transfer terminal for outbound trash.
In Delaware, the trucks are attracting attention from motorists, but no complaints about odors. "They are state-of-the-art containers, as waste containers go," said Covanta spokesman James Reagan. "They’re watertight."
In Chester, however, Mike Ewall of the Energy Justice Network said some residents are concerned that Covanta will want to build an oversize rail yard so that it can distribute more trash from New York to its other incinerators in the region. The Chester plant burns 3,500 tons of waste daily.