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Covanta’s five-year plan includes doubling intake of waste, expansion

TOWN OF NIAGARA – Covanta Environmental Solutions is looking to double the amount of non-hazardous waste it receives here.

Company officials met Wednesday with the Town Board to discuss initial steps in its application process to amend its permit with the state Department of Environmental Conservation. As lead agent, the town is the first stop in the process, it was noted.

Greg Russell, Covanta vice president, said the facility at 8335-8337 Quarry Road needs approval to double its permit limit of 50 tons of non-hazardous, non-regulated “profiled waste” a day and undertake some additional expansion plans.

He noted that the increased materials would result in only two additional trucks a day coming to the site. The company would also be agreeable to limiting the hours of processing, he said.

The company is able to handle the increase now but would be adding some jobs if the change is approved, according to the discussion.

Other Covanta plans would be to install a shredder to break up solid waste and a building to house the machine. Liquid waste would be solidified and shipped out to be burned at other facilities such as Covanta’s Niagara Falls location, Russell explained.

The company would also like to blacktop some of its property and add another building with offices across the street, as well as put in a second pit as part of its five-year plan in the future.

Supervisor Lee Wallace told Russell he would want each part of the plan to be submitted to the town separately rather than in one package.

In the past, neighbors have complained about noise, dust, traffic and environmental concerns regarding the Covanta site.

The board needs to “consider the neighbors” when dealing with Covanta, Deputy Supervisor Charles Teixeira noted. “We’re excited to see more business but we have to be very cautious.”

Councilman Richard A. Sirianni, who joined the board this year, asked for a tour of the facility to enhance his understanding of the operation. Company officials told him the doors were always open and he could stop by at any time.

Wallace told Russell to submit his request to Michael Risman, attorney for the town. Risman later explained that the proposal would be subject to a public hearing prior to any action by the board.

In another environmental matter, the supervisor said he wanted officials from the Fashion Outlets of Niagara Falls and its environmental consulting firm to appear before the board to discuss what is being done to contain the contaminated groundwater that is leaking into a detention pond at the shopping mall.

The contamination was discovered about a year ago but although mall officials had considered several solutions, the situation may be more difficult than anticipated and plans may be delayed for another year.