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Hillsdale, Washington Township: Plan To Reopen Transfer Station Stinks

The Waste Management transfer station fronting on Patterson Street in Hillsdale's industrial section.
The Waste Management transfer station fronting on Patterson Street in Hillsdale's industrial section. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Debris, including empty alcohol bottles, is strewn over the front of the Waste Management transfer station building.
Debris, including empty alcohol bottles, is strewn over the front of the Waste Management transfer station building. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
A garage facility on one side of the transfer station on Brookside Place in Hillsdale.
A garage facility on one side of the transfer station on Brookside Place in Hillsdale. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash
Another view of the transfer station from Brookside Place in Hillsdale.
Another view of the transfer station from Brookside Place in Hillsdale. Photo Credit: Lorraine Ash

HILLSDALE, N.J. — Hillsdale has responded loud and clear to Waste Management’s attempt to reopen its transfer station on Patterson Street: no, thanks.

The borough has sent 1,000 signatures opposing a permit renewal to the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), according to Mayor Doug Frank.

Some residents signed an online petition. Others wrote letters.

“If we have an opportunity to not have these trucks traverse Hillsdale streets every day and to get the smell of a transfer station out of town, we have to take that opportunity,” Frank said.

“These are five-year permits.”

The heat is expected to stay on during a local DEP public hearing on the issue at 7 p.m. April 27 at Pascack Valley High School, 200 Piermont Ave.

At that time, state officials will hear testimony from local leaders and residents.

Representatives from Waste Management, a $14 billion-a-year corporation, will be present to answer technical questions, officials said.

The station, located in the borough’s industrial area, was abandoned after a 2014 snowstorm damaged the roof.

“So they just moved all their business down to their Fairview station,” Frank said. “They left this one unrepaired, with the doors open and garbage all over the place, for two years.

“They never tidied up the place.”

Last year, after Frank took office, his administration contacted the DEP and Waste Management sent in a crew to put on doors and secure the premises.

Washington Township has joined the resistance, too.

The outdated permit allowed Waste Management to move 900 tons of garbage a day.

That means a parade of garbage collection trucks bringing up to 900 tons into the Hillsdale facility.

It also means big semi-tractor trailers hauling up to 900 tons out of the facility via Pascack Road and Linwood Avenue — straight through Washington Township — on their way to Route 17.

“The trucks are very noisy,” Mayor Janet Sobkowicz told Daily Voice.

“They’re also smelly due to the liquid leaking out onto the roads as they drive through the township at the problematic Pascack Road/Washington Avenue intersection.”

The trucks travel a greater distance in Washington Township than Hillsdale, both mayors agreed.

In Washington Township, people have trouble crossing the streets as they pass by Memorial Field, just below Washington Elementary School, Sobkowicz said.

“Our residents are also signing petitions and letters and, hopefully, will attend the public hearing,” she added.

It isn’t even clear that Waste Management would reopen the station if it got its permit, according to Frank.

“They haven’t been able to hit 900 tons in years,” he said. “I don’t think they have the business to receive garbage enough to open it.”

Statewide, Frank explained, 12 DEP-permitted transfer stations have been shut down.

The reason: the success of recycling.

Currently, half the tonnage produced by Hillsdale is recycling, he said, and half is garbage.

The Hillsdale Mayor and Council have a different vision for the industrial area ranging from Knickerbocker Avenue to Prospect Place: a redevelopment plan.

There could be an assisted living facility there, Frank said.

Or a self storage facility.

Or even housing that could help the borough meet its still unknown affordable housing requirement.

“Everybody needs investments in their towns to increase ratables,” he said.

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