A publication of Work On Waste USA, Inc., 82 Judson, Canton, NY 13617 315-379-9200 May 1992


400 tpd mass-burn incinerator in
Hudson Falls, New York
On Line: November 5, 1991

Part 2: Recycling the big money back to the big boys.

“The Warren-Washington counties trash incinerator is just one example of how local people have been taken advantage of by profit-seeking businessmen and insensitive local officials...‘It testifies to the fact that something has to be done (about) unscrupulous local officials, lawyers, developers and others who
would steal them blind...No one is dictating to local government in these issues...They have
authority to be as stupid, venal and corrupt’ as they want to be...”
Maurice Hinchey, Chairman of the N.Y. State Assembly Environmental Conservation Committee, The Post Star, NY, 1-24-92.

Owner & Operator: Adirondack Resource Recovery Corp. (ARRC) owned 80% by Foster Wheeler, 18 % by Robert Barber, and 2% by Barber’s partner, Michael J. Serra. See Waste Not # 194 for more details.

Costs & Liability: $86 million in bonds secured by the Warren-Washington Counties Industrial Development Agency.

(IDA). A 2-county project: Washington County has the financial liability for the bond repayments, while Warren County has to share expenses for the first year only. Washington County also has liability for any hazardous waste and damages at the plant. The incinerator is averaging a 250 tpd shortfall of waste with put or pay contracts.

Consultants responsible for estimating waste generation: Roy F. Weston - see Waste Not # 194

Engineering Consultants to the 2-Counties IDA: Roy F. Weston

Bond Counsel: Wood Dawson & Hellman, New York City

Bond Trustee: Bank of New York. See Waste Not # 194.

Bond Underwriter: Smith-Barney, Harris Upham &Co. Inc.

Health Risk Assessment: Joseph Highland, Environ, Princeton, NJ

Environmental Risk Assessment: Michael Wurmbrand, Environmental Risk Limited, Connecticut

Conflicts of interest run amok. Some of the lawyers involved: Bob Kafin, a lawyer then with Miller, Mannix, Lemery & Kafin represented ARRC (the developer, operator and owner of the incinerator) at the same time his law firm was representing the Warren-Washington Counties Industrial Development Agency (IDA) that secured $86 million bonds to fund the incinerator project. In 1984 Kafin acted as the environmental attorney for Kirkwood -the town selected for Foster Wheeler’s proposed 570 tpd incinerator for Broome County, NY (see Waste Not # 193.) In 1986 Kafin was removed from his role as environmental attorney for Columbia County, NY, to avoid an appearance of a conflict of interest when Columbia county was considering ARRC to build an incinerator for the county because Kafin was representing ARRC at the same time. John Lemery, a lawyer also with Miller, Mannix, Lemery & Kafin represented ARRC and in 1984 was cited as a team leader of ARRC by ARRC founder, Robert Barber. Lemery was retained by the Washington County Board of Supervisors as Counsel in 1982-83 to the Washington County Solid Waste Committee. John Lemery's law firm also represented the 2-counties IDA who secured the $86 million incinerator bonds. In 1986 Lemery also worked for the Saratoga County, NY, Solid Waste Agency by drafting a request for proposals and a service contract for a proposed incinerator. Gardner Congdon, a town supervisor in Saratoga County called the county’s attention to Lemery’s conflict of interest because Lemery was an attorney for ARRC. The Saratoga County incinerator proposal was defeated. Thomas Lawson is the attorney for the 2-counties IDA and is also Warren County’s attorney. In 1988 when the incinerator contracts were renegotiated, Warren County was pulled out of long term liability for the incinerator. See also the dual role of Smith Barney‘s lobbyist in Waste Not # 194.

Ash landfill - 300 miles away: The IDA entered into an ash disposal contract with Eastern Waste-Adirondack Inc.’s CID Landfill in Chaffee, NY, at the 11th hour of the permitting process in late 1988. To secure the incinerator permit the counties needed to have a landfill with a 5-year disposal capacity. This disposal capacity assurance led the 2-counties into a multi-million contract to secure the permit to salvage the project, even though all the entities involved, i.e., the NY DEC, knew this was a sham endeavor, for no one connected with the projected ever wanted long-term contracts with CID because of the enormous costs involved in transportation. The CID Landfill has been pivotal in salvaging incinerator permits over the years, and has made large sums of money in that role, (e.g. Newark, NJ , Hempstead, NY, also cut similar deals with CID, and within 6-8 months, neither incinerator was sending their ash to CID.] Hudson Falls incinerator is on schedule as it has begun to ship 50% of its ash to the unlined Albany, NY, landfill that has no leachate collection system (see Waste Not #191). As we write, Warren & Washington counties are trying to get out of the contract with CID which will cost them over $2 million. Up until June 1992 all the incinerator ash was shipped 300 miles (1-way) to the CID Landfill in Chaffee (near Buffalo). It costs the 2-counties at least $92 per ton to transport and dispose of the ash. The ash trucks return with garbage from the Buffalo area which is handled free of charge at the incinerator. (In Buffalo Occidental Chemical operates a 2,000 tpd RDF municipal waste incinerator that needs trash from Canada to maintain capacity. Foster Wheeler built the boilers for the Occidental incinerator). The 2-counties are desperately seeking to build a landfill closer to the incinerator, and the latest proposal, solicited by a member of the Washington County Board of Supervisors, Robert J. Corrigan, was to consider an offer from Chambers Development. In May 1992 Chambers offered cheaper rates to rail the ash to their Charles City County Landfill in VA. (A rail spur would have to be built to the incinerator site.) Chambers has also offered to provide short term waste to the incinerator.

The Tip Fee Saga:

$5-10 per ton, estimated in 1984 by project proponents.
$81.60 per ton estimated by Moody’s Municipal Credit Report of 1-17-89 for the Warren & Washington Counties IDA.
$51 per ton when incinerator starts up on 11-5-91. On 11-22-91 the incinerator shuts down for 10 days due to lack of trash.
$60 per ton as of 12-3-91 when the incinerator reopened.
$51 per ton as of 12-17-91. Tip fee lowered to attract outside waste to make up 300 tpd waste shortage. A day later the incinerator shuts down for one week due to a lack of waste.
$75 per ton fee set on 2-24-92. Two days after fee is set the incinerator suffers a 300 tpd shortfall of waste.
$40 per ton fee for imported waste only. This tip fee was set by Foster Wheeler on 3-1-92 despite the fact the the IDA, who up to this time determined the tip fee, had forbidden waste to be brought in below $75 per ton. The IDA tried to stop the waste coming it at $40 per ton by imposing a $1,000 violation for anyone entering the plant without a $25 county permit. After the Sheriff spent one day checking trucks the county found there was no law to stop Foster Wheeler from bringing in waste at $40 per ton. Foster Wheeler challenged the IDA to bring legal action against them for bringing in spot waste at $40 per ton.
$132 per ton for waste delivered to transfer stations in Washington County. This tip fee has not changed. The five transfer stations, referred to as Taj Mahals, were built in a rural county of 59,000 people, at a cost of $1.5 million each. According to all reports, they provide excellent recycling opportunities, while accepting waste for the incinerator. It is difficult to understand what hauler would pay $132 to bring waste to the transfer stations when for $75 he can go directly to the incinerator. Because of the enormous shortfalls in waste, which translates into enormous revenue shortfalls for the two counties, the current proposal is to sell the recycling equipment at the transfer stations for 1/3 of its cost to ARRC’s Robert Barber to save money. Recyclers say it will destroy recycling in Washington County.

Health Risk Assessment (HRA), Stack Emission Tests and “Discrete Waste”: There was no HRA approved prior to the construction or start-up of the Hudson Falls incinerator. According to Tom Hall of the NY DEC Region 5 (Warrensburg), the DEC Commissioner ruled in an 1986-87 adjudicatory hearing that because there were “substantial disagreements” over the projected impact of the incinerator emissions from two Health Risk Assessments, that the HRA would be performed after the incinerator was built and stack emission test results were available. (Joseph Highland of Environ had argued that the routes of exposure for uptake in the foodchain and exposure through inhalation were the same. Paul Connett and Tom Webster had argued that the uptake in the foodchain would result in a far greater risk. Today it is accepted that the route of exposure from incinerator emissions for inhalation accounts for less than 2% of risk, whereas 98% of the risk is from the uptake in the foodchains.) ARRC is responsible for performing the stack testing and the HRA. The stack emission tests were conducted by York Services Inc., a CT engineering firm, with oversight by Roy F. Weston and the NY DEC. At a time the incinerator was suffering a waste shortage crisis Foster Wheeler was able to secure enough waste from NJ & NY City to perform the stack emission tests. (Waste was accepted at less than $15 per ton.] Within a few days after the testing, the imported waste dried up. The emission stack tests were first done in February 1992, but according to DEC’s Hall, they had to be redone because testing was carried out fully on only one of the two boilers. In late April or May the testing was completed. Waste Not asked DEC’s Hall about the fact that the incinerator was accepting material that is not considered municipal solid waste, and because of that would the HRA accurately represent a waste stream that wasn’t used for the stack emission tests. This was Hall’s reply: “The facility is taking in discrete waste from some industries and commercial facilities... [the DEC is] requiring that when the facility gets a request from an industrial facility they go through a systematic process on how [the waste] will affect the plant, BTU’s, operating equipment -primarily pollution controls, [will it] cause permit exceedances, or is there any special handling required, any mixing needed. After going through that type of analysis the facility [operator] has to conclude whether to accept or reject [the waste]. They are keeping documentation relative to discrete waste streams from industrial and commercial facilities.”

FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: Stephanie Wenk at 518-692-7595 or Mel MacKenzie at 518-692-9626, both with the Greenwich Citizens Committee, or Bob Daly of Concerned Citizens of Hudson Falls & Kingsbury, 518-747-4418.

WASTE NOT # 195. A publication of Work on Waste USA, published 48 times a year. Annual rates are: Groups & Non-Profits $50; Students & Seniors $35; Individual $40; Consultants & For-Profits $125; Canadian $US45; Overseas $65. Editors: Ellen & Paul Connett, 82 Judson Street, Canton, NY 13617. Tel: 315-379-9200. Fax: 315-379-0448.