When most people think of disaster relief, their thoughts turn to Red Cross workers doling out blankets and water, temporary housing units and government aid. But the true scope of a natural disaster, like Hurricane Sandy, extends far beyond basic necessities.
One overwhelming issue is the debris. What do you do with the rubble of toppled homes and restaurants and convenience stores that need to be removed quickly to ensure public safety? How do you find an adequate number of waste management facilities with upstanding compliance records and the staffing and equipment needed to handle the material? It’s a dilemma that environmental agencies face with each disaster, and in the case of hurricane Sandy, they found the Seneca Meadows Landfill to be just such a facility.
“We’re expecting the hurricane debris to come in for the next several weeks,” said Tom Hasek, Environmental Engineering & Compliance Manager for Seneca Meadows. “We have been in constant communication with the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, we’ve passed an Environmental Protection Agency evaluation for the project, and the U.S. Army Corp of Engineers is on site to oversee the materials handling. Each load is screened for the removal of unacceptable items, such as electronics and white goods, (i.e., large appliances), for recycling and alternate disposal. Although we are but one of several facilities taking this waste, it’s still a tremendous effort, and I’m proud of our team for the level of excellence that’s going into this project.”
The company has also sent pallets of water and other supplies to assist the hurricane victims in Staten Island, and one member of its staff has traveled downstate to personally lend a hand.
“You don’t think about it until it happens, but the removal and management of this debris is an important step toward helping these families recover their lives,” said Don Gentilcore, Area Manager for Seneca Meadows. “We will continue to assist the State and federal agencies that are providing this relief in any way that we can.”