CATSKILL — A New Hampshire-based waste processing company is scouting an inactive cement quarry at the former Peckham Materials in Smith’s Landing for a site to recycle metal from ash shipped in from its other plants.
The company has no plans to burn waste in Catskill.
Wheelabrator, a company that converts waste into renewable energy, expressed interest in purchasing 158 acres on Route 9W including a former quarry owned by Peckham Materials Inc. Wheelabrator owns 26 plants in the United States and United Kingdom.
Company representatives made a presentation to the Village Board of Trustees on Jan. 23. Wheelabrator is testing the site to see if it is feasible for the facility and the project is about two to three years away from fruition, Manager of Development Mark Schwartz said. The January meeting was an introductory session, Catskill Village President Vincent Seeley added.
The site is ideal for the project, Schwartz told village officials.
“It’s an industrial zone with no repurpose value,” he said. “There’s no use for the land, there’s no abutters, there’s no disturbance of the viewshed.”
The project will also provide great benefits to the town and village, Schwartz said.
“It will help restore the loss to the tax base from the cement kilns,” he said. “And it will be a revenue source to the village. The town and the village could use this revenue stream for decades. It’s a win-win,” Schwartz said.
The facility could be a good thing for the town, Catskill Town Supervisor Doreen Davis said.
“Pending all the reviews, if it passes all that, then from a revenue perspective, it’d be a great source of revenue for the town.”
The town experienced a $50,000 loss in taxes when the quarry and cement plants closed, Davis said.
“In 2016 we almost didn’t make our expenses,” she said.
Seeley also sees potential for the company.
“There is potential windfall from a financial perspective for the village,” he said.
In addition to creating jobs, the revenue to the village from the company’s use of the water and sewer system is estimated at $250,000 to $500,000 a year, Seeley said.
The project is in its early stages, Schwartz said.
“We are doing subsurface studies of the site to test the hydrology, geology, seismic activity, resistivity and groundwater. We have found no fatal flaws so far,” he said. All testing has to be submitted to the state Department of Environmental Conservation for review.
Once the results are in and the reports completed, the project will move into its engineering phase, Schwartz said.
At the proposed site, metals will be filtered out of an ash reservoir monofill, with the ash brought in from Wheelabrator facilities in Peekskill, Hudson Falls and Poughkeepsie. Schwartz said.
A monofill is a landfill that contains only ash, no raw garbage, lined with a huge sheet of plastic, according to Hazardous Waste News.
Waste brought to the plants is burned in a boiler at 2,000 degrees. Pressure from the steam released by the combustion powers turbines to produce energy. Wheelabrator has four facilities equipped to produce ash, the waste product.
“We have similar monofills in Putnam, Connecticut, and Shrewsbury, Massachusetts,” Schwartz said.
The Catskill site would process the ash in a similar manner.
“Ash is transported to the sites in covered, watertight trucks and unloaded at the monofill working face, spread with a bulldozer, and compacted with a vibratory roller,” according to Wheelabrator’s website. “From the ash, further ferrous and nonferrous metals not removed via plant systems are recovered and sent to advanced metal recovery upgrade facilities to be recycled.”
In 2017, Wheelabrator recovered and recycled 160,517 tons of scrap metal that would have otherwise ended up in landfills, according to the company site.
The Putnam plant, which has new technology developed by Inascho BV, allows Wheelabrator to recover metals as small as 0.2 millimeters.
The metal is marketed for sale and after many years of use, the valley will fill with ash and the company will cover it, Schwartz said.
“We can plant indigenous species after,” Schwartz said, adding that these sites are also popular for renewable power after they’ve been used.
“There will be many more meetings to discuss [the project] with the public,” he said.
To learn more about how Wheelabrator creates energy from waste, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QbC6ed3RAAU.