Controversial waste transfer station finally opens in Gravesend

Waste not: The city’s controversial and years-in-the-making Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station in Gravesend, at Shore Parkway and Bay 41st Street, finally opened on Oct. 1.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

They’re finally taking out the trash.

A controversial waste transfer station years in the making finally opened in Gravesend on Oct. 1, a spokeswoman from the Department of Sanitation confirmed. The Southwest Brooklyn Marine Transfer Station at Shore Parkway and Bay 41st Street will export waste to an as-yet-unknown location via barges in a bid to reduce traffic and lessen pollution, according to Sanitation spokeswoman Dina Montes.

Local activists and pols protested the station before and since construction began in December 2014, arguing that it will lead to increased truck traffic, air pollution, and unearth toxic chemicals from the site’s history as a city garbage incinerator that operated without a permit for 40 years.

Construction on the station was briefly halted last year, when workers found asbestos — a notorious carcinogen — on the site.

The station is part of the city’s Solid Waste Management Plan, approved by the Council in 2006, which mandated the city export waste by rail or barge from three private transfer stations and five city-owned transfer stations rather than by long-haul truck trips, Montes said, adding that the plan is expected to reduce truck traffic associated with waste export and slash greenhouse gas emissions by 34,000 tons annually.

The district manager of the local Community Board 11 declined to comment on the opening, stating that the board supported Sanitation’s original application for the site.

Longtime opponent Assemblyman Bill Colton (D–Gravesend) took a defiant tone, warning that the mayor will be on the hook for any harm it causes his constituents, and vowing to push to close the facility.

“Although Mayor DeBlasio may have pushed this dangerous project on our community, now we will hold him fully liable for all the negative impacts we had anticipated will occur,” he said. “I promise that we will continue to fight for its final closure, and we will prevail.”

Reach reporter Julianne McShane at (718) 260–2523 or by e-mail at jmcshane@cnglocal.com. Follow her on Twitter @juliannemcshane.
Photo by Steve Solomonson

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