The Department of Sanitation says it is reviewing claims by a community organization that a Brooklyn waste transfer station violates city law with alarming frequency.
The company, Brooklyn Transfer LLC handles up to 560 tons of garbage a day. City sanitation trucks and private carters bring garbage there for transfer to larger trucks that haul it out of state.
The report by Cleanup North Brooklyn alleges that neighbors of Brooklyn Transfer LLC in Bushwick endure loud noises, foul odors, truck idling and other conditions at odds with the laws and city contract the station is supposed to operate under.
Using video cameras, the organization says it documented 1262 such violations over a single six-day period. In one incident, the group filmed workers outside the facility appearing to physically impede a woman trying to reach a car parked on the street, then knocking down a public parking sign.
“Despite committing 1262 violations of regulatory code in plain sight, during the period of May 23-28, exactly zero violations were issued against Brooklyn Transfer LLC. We believe this is because the Department of Sanitation and the Department of Environmental Conservation do not enforce the regulations listed in the permit,” the report reads.
It recommends the facility’s permit be revoked; short of that, the group calls for a lengthy list of policy changes to address the alleged problems.
DSNY tells City Limits: “This report raises important community concerns about the operation of this facility, and we are carefully reviewing the report to determine what, if any, action is necessary at this time. This year, the Department of Sanitation has already conducted nearly 60 full inspections, and nearly 70 ‘drive-by’ inspections of the facility. Additionally, we investigated complaints from 311 that fell under DSNY jurisdiction. We encourage members of the community to report violations as they occur so inspectors can respond and take appropriate action.”
No enforcement action was taken against Brooklyn Transfer LLC in 2016, according to DSNY.
A spokeswoman for the company says, “These complaints are factually inaccurate. The report was created by people with an agenda, who are neither experts in the industry nor in industrial safety procedures. Brooklyn Transfer is run according to the industry’s best practices and has an immaculate record for 2016. It is properly licensed with all required operating permits and has operated in a highly regulated and inspected industry for more than 40 years, employing hundreds of local people in this community.”
The impact of waste transfer stations has long been a source of concern for host communities. Councilmembers Steven Levin and Antonio Reynoso in 2014 introduced a bill to reduce the amount of waste processed in any particular community. Other than a hearing, the measure has seen no Council action.
City Limits reviewed issues around transfer stations and other challenges facing the city’s waste system in a 2015 series.