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$35 million trash treatment site eyed for Rensselaer

Times Union: The wave of the future....

A $35 million composting facility that will handle 150,000 tons of municipal garbage annually has been proposed for the former 40-acre BASF factory site in the city’s southern industrial area.

The city Planning Commission is expected to begin the environmental review of the proposed Rensselaer Engineered Fuels Facility at 36 Riverside Ave. when it meets Monday night.

The biotech fuel plant operating as Rensselaer Resource Recovery LLC will be in a 60,000-square-foot building on 20 acres at the BASF location, Charles Moore, the city’s director of planning and development, said Thursday. About 40 truckloads per day are expected to make deliveries to the site.

“It’s a fully enclosed facility. It helps to solve the regional waste disposal problems. It's essentially a composting facility,” Moore said about the plant, which is considered to be a “mechanical biological treatment facility.”

Capital Region municipalities are facing a looming garbage disposal issue as the Albany and Colonie municipal landfills run out of space.

The parent company, BioHiTech Global Inc., describes the process as a high efficiency biological treatment technology that “converts significant amounts of mixed municipal waste into a US EPA recognized Solid Recovered Fuel and reduces landfill usage by up to 80 percent. The technology has been commercially deployed in Europe with 8 active facilities.”

“It’s the wave of the future,” Mayor Daniel Dwyer said.

The city anticipates seeing an expansion of its tax base, about 24 jobs created and the restoration of the BASF site to productive use. Moore said this is an instance of a razed site being returned to useful industrial production.

The plant will be designed to hold down odor, light and noise pollution, he said.

The Planning Commission will name itself the lead agency for conducting the state environmental quality review required for the project. The commission meets at 6:30 p.m. Monday in City Hall.

The proposed project fits into activities permitted in the industrial zoned area in the port area, Moore said. The project will require a special use variance.

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