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Why the Deadly Asbestos Industry is Still Alive and Well

"Despite irrefutable scientific evidence calling out the dangers of asbestos, 2 million tons of the carcinogen are exported every year to the developing world, where it's often handled with little to no regulation."

"For this episode of VICE Reports, correspondent Milène Larsson traveled to the world's largest asbestos mine in the eponymous town of Asbest, Russia, to meet workers whose livelihoods revolve entirely around the dangerous mineral. Surprisingly, the risks associated with asbestos mining didn't seem to worry the inhabitants; in fact, asbestos is the city's pride, celebrated with monuments, songs, and even its own museum."

"Larsson then visits Libby, Montana, another mining town almost on the other side of the globe, where the effects of asbestos exposure are undeniable: 400 townspeople have died from asbestos-related diseases, and many more are slowly choking to death. Why is the deadly industry of mining and selling asbestos still alive and well?"

Average Daily Tonnage at Rapp Road Landfill

About 2/3rds of the waste that Rapp Road Landfill accepts is Municipal Solid Waste, although it is also a significant facility for the disposal of Construction and Demolition debris and Asbestos-containing wastes. It's also one of the few facilities permitted to accept incinerated sewage sludge, and it imports about a third of it's incinerated sewage sludge from the states of Connecticut and Massachusetts.

Data Source: NYSDEC Annual Solid Waste Facility Reports, 2016. ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dshm/SWMF/Annual%20Reports_Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Facility/Annual%20Reports_by%20Activity%20Type/Landfill/Landfill%20Annual%20Reports%20-%202016/R4/01S02_Albany_SWMF_msw_R4_2016.2017-03-01.AR.pdf

America’s Television Graveyards

"Years after most Americans switched to flat-screens, we're just now beginning to deal with the long-term ramifications of sustainably disposing of old cathode-ray televisions and computer monitors. This dangerous, labor-intensive, and costly undertaking will have to be done for each of the estimated 705 million CRT TVs sold in the United States since 1980. CRT processing, as it's called, happens at only a handful of the best e-waste recycling centers in the United States. In many cases, your old TV isn't recycled at all and is instead abandoned in a warehouse somewhere, left for society to deal with sometime in the future."

"At ECS, televisions affixed with Post-it Notes labeling each unit's weight have been arranged in a line, ready to be hammered, crowbarred, and sawed back into their component parts. There are old Sony Trinitrons, wood-paneled RCAs, and huge plastic Toshibas. Plastic TVs weigh up to 80 pounds, but larger, rear-projection CRTs can weigh as much as 500 pounds, and surely, in better days, had prominent spots in family rooms around the country."

"Demanufacturing the televisions is hard manual labor that works as a reverse assembly line, as the components from these old TVs are separated by hand and moved down a conveyor belt. First, they use a crowbar to remove the back case. They cut, strip, and sort the power cords. They remove internal screws with drills. What's left of the TV is then hammered, to separate the front screen from the cathode-ray vacuum tube. They strip the wires for copper. Wood will eventually be composted or turned into sawdust. Plastic is put through a shredder so that it can be melted. A handheld grinder spews sparks as it separates the screen from whatever is left of the tube. Then, more smashing—this time, the glass. "

A small town tries to put a lid on power of Big Trash

Private waste companies are looking to be “economically efficient and politically expedient,” says Daniel Faber, director of Northeastern University’s Environmental Justice Research Collaborative (NEJRC) in Boston. This means choosing host communities with lower education levels and less time, money, and resources to mobilize themselves, he says. “They are less likely to offer opposition.”

Post Closure, 30-year Costs for Rapp Road Landfill

This graph breaks down the estimated 30-year post-closure costs with closing the Rapp Road Landfill.

"Post-closure environmental monitoring costs over the 30 year post-closure period for the existing landfill regulated under the current facility permit were estimated considering the monitoring
requirements set forth in the current Environmental Monitoring Plan appended to the current Hydrogeologic Report. Post-closure maintenance costs were estimated for tasks typical for closed
municipal landfills, including gas and leachate collection systems operation and maintenance, leachate treatment, cover soil repairs, and mowing. The total cost associated with monitoring and
maintenance over the 30 year post-closure period is estimated to be $2,923,800.00. "

Data Source: 2016 NYSDEC Active Landfill Annual Report Form, Rapp Road Solid Waste Facility. ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dshm/SWMF/Annual%20Reports_Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Facility/Annual%20Reports_by%20Activity%20Type/Landfill/Landfill%20Annual%20Reports%20-%202016/R4/01S02_Albany_SWMF_msw_R4_2016.2017-03-01.AR.pdf

Rapp Road Landfill Closure Costs

This graph breaks down the estimated (immediate) costs with closing the Rapp Road Landfill. It does not include post-closure costs. That graph will be posted later in the week.

"The total existing landfill area at the Rapp Road Solid Waste Management Facility which is regulated under the current facility permit is approximately 108 acres. Approximately 64 acres have been
closed with a final cover in accordance with applicable 6 NYCRR Part 360 regulations; therefore approximately 44 acres remain to be closed in the future. Closure of the remaining open area will be
performed in accordance with the current facility permit and 6 NYCRR Part 360. The cost for completing the closure construction is estimated to be $8,421,313.76. This cost assumes that the
entire closure will be completed by an independent contractor. "

Data Source: 2016 NYSDEC Active Landfill Annual Report Form, Rapp Road Solid Waste Facility. ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dshm/SWMF/Annual%20Reports_Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Facility/Annual%20Reports_by%20Activity%20Type/Landfill/Landfill%20Annual%20Reports%20-%202016/R4/01S02_Albany_SWMF_msw_R4_2016.2017-03-01.AR.pdf

MSW Sources at Rapp Road Landfill

While the majority of the Municipal Solid Waste at the Rapp Road Landfill comes from the communities in Capital Region Solid Waste Planning Unit, the landfill imports MSW from several other municipalities.

Data Source: NYSDEC Annual Solid Waste Facility Reports, 2016. ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dshm/SWMF/Annual%20Reports_Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Facility/Annual%20Reports_by%20Activity%20Type/Landfill/Landfill%20Annual%20Reports%20-%202016/R4/01S02_Albany_SWMF_msw_R4_2016.2017-03-01.AR.pdf

Tons of Waste Accepted at Rapp Road Landfill, 2016

Generally tonnage of waste accepted at the Rapp Road Landfill declined as year progressed, with an increase of construction and demolition debris and declining MSW. Sewage sludge ash increased in the spring months, possibility due to the sewage treatment plants operating at a higher output during the spring months.

Data Source: NYSDEC Annual Solid Waste Facility Reports, 2016. ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dshm/SWMF/Annual%20Reports_Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Facility/Annual%20Reports_by%20Activity%20Type/Landfill/Landfill%20Annual%20Reports%20-%202016/R4/01S02_Albany_SWMF_msw_R4_2016.2017-03-01.AR.pdf

Rapp Road Landfills, Total Tonnage

The Rapp Road Landfill has been expanded five times since 1969. The original landfill lasted for 25 years, it operated along with the OGS Refused Derived Steam Plant between 1983-1993, which burned shredded trash. The landfill received the ash from the burned trash. It is the biggest landfill in tonnage, followed by the 2000-2010 P4 Landfill, which took in nearly as much in a decade as the Rapp Road Landfill the previous 25 years.

The GAL was unlined; the DEC allowed incinerator ash in the unlined portion until the closure of ANSWERS in 1993. The GAL is entirely capped, they have test plots on parts of it, and is being developed into a Pine Bush compatible habitat.

Albany Interim Landfill was the first lined landfill, which first took in incinerator bypass waste and certain other municipal solid wastes. The AIL was located to the north of the GAL, near the trailer park. That's what the overlap.

The AIL "Wedge" was the landfill located between the GAL and AIL. P4 Expansion was a mostly vertical expansion on tap of the GAL and AIL.

The Eastern Expansion (aka P5) was to the North and East of P4 Expansion. It took about 10 acres of unprotected Albany Pine Bush -- the city charges a $10 ton tipping fee, which is financing the $25 million restoration of the trailer park and the more controversial "Pine Bush like" landfill cap.

Data Source: NYSDEC Annual Solid Waste Facility Reports, 2016. ftp://ftp.dec.state.ny.us/dshm/SWMF/Annual%20Reports_Solid%20Waste%20Management%20Facility/Annual%20Reports_by%20Activity%20Type/Landfill/Landfill%20Annual%20Reports%20-%202016/R4/01S02_Albany_SWMF_msw_R4_2016.2017-03-01.AR.pdf