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Trash transfer station won’t be easy to put in Pleasantville

Trash transfer station won’t be easy to put in Pleasantville

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A property developer wants to set up a transfer station for construction debris on a rail line in Pleasantville. Trains would take about 100,000 tons a year of the debris out of state, much or all of which currently gets put into the Atlantic County Utilities Authority landfill in Egg Harbor Township.

This industrial facility would be served by a stream of trucks six days a week. And it would be directly across the street from Press of Atlantic City offices — on our former property, part of which is becoming a cannabis growing facility.

But don’t assume that because our location would get the maximum inconvenience and unsightliness from the transfer station that we are against it. Pleasantville might want it and some of the arguments against it look a bit weak. If the transfer station can clear the many roadblocks before it, that would be fine.

A tough one is that county officials say it would cause a jump in residential garbage disposal rates. The ACUA figures it would lose $10 million in revenue from construction debris disposal and would have to offset that by increasing residential rates for municipalities (which would spill into higher local taxes).

This must mean that businesses disposing of construction debris have been subsidizing residential disposal costs. County officials have said they won’t approve the transfer station if others will have to pay more.

The amount of truck traffic the station would generate looks daunting too. A consultant’s report predicted a daily maximum of 230 truck trips to and from the facility, or 55 trips per hour when operating from morning to evening (plus another 78 daily trips by employee cars and other vehicles). Although the report says “no delay is anticipated on the area roadway network” from adding nearly a truck a minute on average, if these are mostly dump trucks, the morning and afternoon rush hours would surely be impacted.

In addition to a ratable, Pleasantville would get a fee of $4 a ton, or $400,000 a year. No question it could use the money. Mayor Judy Ward, who also is on the board of the ACUA, supports the project and its benefit to her city and sees it helping the landfill stay open beyond its expected maxing out and closing in five years.

To us that’s a bit of a plus, since it will put off the day when Atlantic County must ship its garbage to neighboring Cape May and Cumberland counties. A little more time will also bring Atlantic County closer to the expected long-term garbage solution of turning trash to energy with high-temperature plasma burners. Such technology has been deployed in Oregon, Florida and Canada, and seems destined for widespread use with a little more improvement.

Pleasantville Councilman Laurence “Tony” Davenport, though, has expressed concerns about the effect of the transfer station and truck traffic on nearby neighborhoods. Galloway Township already has rejected the developer’s proposal to put the project on a less residential section of western Tilton Road. So it also would have to buck the legal and public opinion trends against putting unsavory industrial developments in poor and minority-dominated communities. Approval of the plan by the state Department of Environmental Protection would also be required.

The benefits to the city and the developer seem small next to the many ways this project could be stopped. We on the editorial board of the project’s most immediate neighbor would accept it if it were approved and built, but that seems unlikely.

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