Waste Management plans to haul waste to landfill by rail, but rigs won’t be vanishing any time soon.
A plan by Waste Management to begin transporting garbage by rail to High Acres Landfill may not bring the relief in truck traffic some are hoping for.
Jenna Amering, a spokesperson for Waste Management’s Rochester-area operations, said the plan to build a railroad spur off the CSX mainline in Macedon to the landfill — which spans both Perinton and Macedon — may result in a decline in trucks on area highways, but it won’t be big.
“It’s not going to be a substantial change” in truck traffic, she said. “We won’t be taking all the trucks and volume off the roads.”
What it will do, she said, is allow High Acres — which has seen a decrease in its waste volume due in part to recycling — to bring in additional garbage, but in a more cost-effective way, and without putting more trucks on the road. The company has come under criticism in both Palmyra and Macedon for the high volume of trucks carrying waste to High Acres.
Scott Allen, Macedon’s engineer and building and code enforcement officer, concurred with Amering.
“It will take some of the trucks, and they can do more volume,” said Allen, who said Waste Management will need to modify its special use permit to allow trash delivery via rail. The Town Board will hold a public hearing on the request on Thursday, April 11 at 7:45 p.m.
The company hopes to build the rail spur off the CSX line this summer, said Allen, with hopes of making it operational next year.
The plan is for CSX cars to drop off garbage at High Acres’ Macedon section three times a week for disposal in the Perinton section. The Macedon section, part of the landfill’s expansion project several years in the making, is not operational, said Amering, who noted the amount of garbage being accepted under the project plan is within its state Department of Environmental Conservation permit.
“It is so much more cost-effective,” said Amering, noting that a freight train goes by the landfill every 18 minutes.
The company also utilizes rail transport for municipal waste at a site in Virginia, she said.
Palmyra resident John Goodspeed, a leader in the local fight against the heavy volume of truck traffic coming into Palmyra via Route 21, said the plan still has merit, even if it doesn’t fulfill all his wishes.
After all, said Goodspeed, who lives on Canandaigua Road (Route 21), the company could have decided to send the extra volume by truck and make matters worse.
“If it reduces or stops a potential increase (in truck traffic), that’s good too,” he said.
Goodspeed is a member of the Palmyra Traffic Committee, which he said hasn’t met in recent years, although he gives members regular updates on issues via email.
Page 2 of 2 - “We think we’ve made some small inroads,” said Goodspeed, who attended a presentation Waste Management made on the rail spur to Macedon officials in February. “Traffic has diminished a little bit.”
Still, he said, “the trucks are still coming.”
Goodspeed, who plans to ask questions about the project during the April public hearing, hopes Waste Management considers using rail more often, but has his doubts the company will end its long-standing relationships with trucking companies.
And while High Acres plans new transportation modes for garbage, Goodspeed worries that any improvements on that end would be negated by a controversial plan to build a landfill off Route 88 in Arcadia.
“That’s a very big concern,” said Goodspeed, who is urging people to write to the Arcadia Town Board asking them to oppose the project.
“There is no need for a landfill in Arcadia,” he said. “It is simply a money grab (to take business away from High Acres).”
And while the region’s roads en route to the landfill might get a pounding, there are financial benefits in garbage — at least for Macedon.
As a “community host,” the town gets $1 million annually from Waste Management, and when the Macedon section of the landfill opens up, that dollar amount could increase, said Amering.