A windfall for Colonie after devastation from Hurricane Sandy

Posted at: 11/16/2012 5:55 PM
By: Dan Bazile

COLONIE -- The scale of the operation can only be measured in thousands of tons and cubic yards and it's only a fraction of the construction debris coming out of the New York City area in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

"Right now most of the debris is coming from the Rockaways and Breezy Point areas and Staten Island area," said Robert Moreno, a quality assurance manager with the Army Corps of Engineers. "The larger barges will hold about 250 trucks of debris."

One of the massive barges is docked at the Port of Coyemans with big rigs taking on the loads that will be going to several landfills including the one in the Town of Colonie.

"You've got a crisis situation going on here. People are asking for help all over the state everybody is trying to do all they could do," said Colonie Town Supervisor Paula Mahan.

Mahan said the landfill was approached by the Army Corps of Engineers and contractors responsible to clean up the streets after the superstorm, to take on some of the debris. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation had to clear the emergency arrangement. The town board also put their stamp of approval on the project. The trucks filled with New York City debris, started rolling into the Colonie landfill on Friday.

"One of the things we wanted was the least amount of disturbance traffic wise," Mahan said.

While this is another way of helping the Big Apple, the town also stands to make some windfall money. The landfill is operated through an arrangement with a private trash company. But the town still owns the landfill.

"In addition to our annual $2.3 million payment, we would get an additional $4 per ton," Mahan said.

She added that the smartest thing to do is to save the extra money for a rainy day and continue to build up the town's surplus.