June 8, 2023

The Ulster County Useful resource Restoration Company (UCRRA), the general public authority involved with all supplies recyclable, compostable and wasted, saved its playing cards near its vest at its board assembly on April 27.

Queried by Ulster County legislator Manna Jo Greene, members of the board declined to offer the main points of the 2 responses obtained by the company to its March 10 Request For Proposal (RFP), which sought an organization to carry out a feasibility research for the position of countywide landfill.

“I’m simply questioning at what level,” requested Greene, “the RFP and the responses to the statements of curiosity might be launched to the general public.”

Board chair Andrew Ghiorse defined that he wasn’t positive as a result of the company didn’t have all the knowledge but.”

“I don’t know the legalese,” chimed in UCRRA’s govt director Greg Olivier, “however I don’t assume it might be applicable whereas we’re reviewing them.”

After some encouragement from Every day Freeman correspondent Invoice Kemble, Olivier did comply with reveal the identities of the businesses which had responded to the RFPs. They have been Cornerstone and Barton & Loguidice.

Why might he not share the numbers? 

“I didn’t say essentially that I can’t,” replied Olivier. “I stated it wouldn’t be applicable. There’s a distinction. I wasn’t given a authorized opinion.”

An interview with UCRRA govt director Greg Olivieri

Counsel for the company Kenneth Gilligan was not bodily current within the room, however was attending the assembly remotely. Neither Olivier nor Gilligan tried to offer a authorized justification.

That type of hazy communication with a really public has led to misunderstandings between the UCRRA and county residents earlier than. Most not too long ago, in its hunt for siting landfills, the UCRRA in July 2021 utilized the providers of an organization referred to as Hydroquest to assist establish potential websites within the county that may conform to state DEC landfill-siting standards. 

Potential landfill siting areas in Lloyd, Esopus, Rosendale, Gardiner, Shawangunk, Wawarsing and Hurley have been sounded out and dismissed. Unbeknownst to residents of Plattekill, Hydroquest had recognized two enticing website places inside that municipality, with an space close to the previous Hertel Landfill significantly catching the creativeness of the engineers performing the research. 

“That landfill has been shut down since 1986,” stated Plattekill legislator Kevin Roberts. “Fourteen acres of it’s a Superfund website, which we don’t need anyone going close to that and disturbing that floor.”

The UCRRA didn’t share the desire arrived at within the research with Plattekill or with legislator Roberts for greater than a yr. Roberts stated that had been intentional.

“There have been feedback made by the previous chairwoman of the board of administrators, Katherine Bienkafner,” asserted Roberts, “that they have been deliberately conserving it away from the neighbors.”

By not releasing the findings in a well timed method, based on Roberts, the company hoped opposition within the city wouldn’t have an opportunity to prepare towards the plan. 

Nothing fairly summons the NIMBYism of a group of householders fairly like a secret proposal for a dump of their again yard. The response when Plattekill residents turned acquainted with the findings of the research saved below wraps was predictable.

“From what I perceive, written up to now [agency] minutes, it was performed below the request of the New York State DEC,” asserted Roberts. “Should you’ve learn the report checked out it, it’s not an excellent report. You recognize, it’s only a waste of $11,000.”

Most critical folks agree that siting a landfill someplace in Ulster County is inevitable. Nobody has but found out a option to coax one of many 23 municipalities into volunteering themselves for the distinction.

“The 2 foremost issues communities have are visitors and odor,” stated Greene. “And by decreasing the quantity of waste destined for a landfill you scale back the variety of vans or autos going right into a landfill.”

Greene, who represents Rosendale and Marbletown, is widely known because the county legislature’s skilled on environmental issues. She initiatives that the quantity of waste at present trucked out from Ulster County to Seneca Meadows within the Finger Lakes area could have declined considerably earlier than a landfill might feasibly be sited inside the county. If most waste diversion is practiced, she says, the potential for an Ulster County siting turns into the truth.

“You pull out the organics and also you scale back the odors significantly,” stated Greene. “Natural materials, when it decomposes in a landfill, releases methane. However when you compost it with aerated situations, it does nothing. It makes a really good soil modification.” 

Half the battle is gained if recyclables are faraway from the waste stream and if organics are directed in the direction of composting, she stated. .

“The opposite low-hanging fruit to handle this drawback,” stated Greene, “is to maintain building and demolition particles separate, proper? And that’s as a result of to begin with it’s cumbersome. However a lot of that may be recycled sheet rock. And satirically, one of many main sources of odor in a landfill is sheet rock.”

Government director Olivier says he’s been tasked with transferring ahead with a broader or extra complete research than that carried out by Hydroquest. Having been employed in October 2021, nevertheless, he’s comparatively new to the job.

“Proper now, the company is confronted with hiring the corporate and reviewing their feasibility research,” defined Greene, “after which additionally reviewing very preliminary statements of curiosity. That’s the place I believe the actual crossroads are, which is, are we going to let some firm are available, pay them a small fortune to handle our waste and primarily, privatize the system? Or are we going to take actual accountability, maximize waste diversion, and discover an applicable landfill?”

The truth that the company is even performing the research baffles Roberts. 

“Actually, I don’t even know why they’re doing the report,” stated Roberts. “The restoration company doesn’t have any funds to pay for landfill. Why are they doing a research? The county legislature ought to be doing the report.” 

The submit Monetary particulars saved below wraps on the UCRRA first appeared on Hudson Valley One.