HILLSDALE, NJ — Waste Management has begun using its waste transfer facility on Brookside Place ahead of a ruling by the county.
In December, the state Department of Environmental Protection renewed a solid waste facility permit Waste Management filed to resume operations at the facility. Waste Management stopped using the facility four years ago when the roof collapsed during a snowstorm. It was reopened Jan. 29.
The state Department of Environmental Protection renewed the permit Dec. 15 pending the results of a comprehensive review of the county’s solid waste management plan by the Bergen County Utilities Authority (BCUA).
DEP spokesman Larry Hajna confirmed Friday that the permit was renewed.
The Borough Council appealed the renwal Jan. 10 and sought clarification as to what “pending the results” meant, Mayor John Ruocco said in a letter to residents.
“In our humble view of the English language, it meant that Waste Management could not resume operations until the BCUA completed its review, but we sought to confirm this with the NJDEP,” Ruocco said. “Before we could receive an answer, Waste Management began sending trucks down our streets.”
The DEP told Hillsdale that “this was fine in their eyes” unless the BCUA rules that the transfer station has no place in the county’s solid waste management plan, Ruocco said.
Ruocco said that based on the information he has, the BCUA is not likely to complete its review until the summer.
“Needless to say, the Hillsdale Mayor and Council are disappointed in this outcome and in the manner in which the NJDEP reached its decision,” Ruocco said in the letter. “The Hillsdale waste transfer facility had been non-operational for almost four years with no demonstrated negative consequences to either Waste Management or the county’s Solid Waste Management Plan, and despite virtually unanimous opposition from residents.”
Waste Management spokesman John Hambrose said the company is “in compliance” with the permit.
The facility is permitted to process up to 900 tons of waste a day, but for now, Hambrose said, only about 30 to 70 tons a day have been going there.
Waste Management’s trucks follow a specific route through town that is designed to “minizine inconvenience to the community,” Hambrose said.
According to Ruocco, there are “a host of negative environmental, safety and financial issues” associated with the DEP’s decision that were not adequately addressed. One of those, he said, is negatively impacting the borough’s ability to meet it state-mandated affordable housing requirements.
Ruocco encouraged residents to contact state Assembly members Robert Auth and Holly Schepisi and Senator Gerald Cardinale regarding the matter.