Covanta’s Chester, PA Trash Incinerator: New York City Waste

As of the first quarter of 2014, Covanta’s Chester incinerator only took in 75% of the waste they’re capable of burning. Among that was 51,158 tons from somewhere New York State, which amounts to about 200,000 tons/year. Covanta has historically accepted about 200,000 to 350,000 tons/year from New York State.

With their 2013 contract with New York City to accept 500,000 tons/year by rail from the Upper East Side of Manhattan for the next 30 years, this means an increase of at least 300,000 tons/year from New York. This generously assumes that all of the waste currently coming from New York State is from the Upper East Side of Manhattan. If it’s not, then this could mean as much as an additional 500,000 tons/year coming to Chester.

Since Covanta has not been running at capacity, they have room for an extra 300,000 tons/year, which would bring them from 75% up to 98% capacity. Should they accept even more waste, they’ll have the ability to use their rail infrastructure as a transfer station should they get the local and state permission for the infrastructure.

Covanta is getting into the transfer station business. In Niagara Falls, where their New York City contract also has 500,000 tons/year going to their incinerator in that city, Covanta asked for, and was granted, capacity for a SIX TIMES as much waste as they needed to fulfill the NYC contract. The only reason to do this is if they plan to use that capacity — likely as a trash transfer station.

It they do the same in Chester, it just means more trash trucks and trains, with no benefit to Chester.

Source: PA Department of Environmental Protection, data reported by Covanta