After roughly five years of planning, borrowing, demolition and construction, Valley Stream’s waste transfer station on Arlington Road opened on Nov. 15 to much fanfare, and a dedication to late Sanitation Department Supervisor Wayne Mastrangelo.
Mastrangelo, a longtime Valley Stream sanitation worker, was credited with pushing for and conceiving of the $9 million project, which involved the demolition of a long-defunct incinerator on the property, and the replacement of an aging trash compacting system with one that bales the village’s solid waste into plastic-wrapped cubes with the intention of cutting down on transportation costs. Mastrangelo died suddenly of a heart attack in 2014 at age 47, and his name is emblazoned on the building, and on a memorial bench outside the facility.
“This project was just another example of how my father was always thinking, ‘How can we better the village? How can we better operations?’” Wayne’s son Jake, 28, said. “. . . And there are a pool of ideas that he came up with and implemented that are in place today. This was his final idea, and his biggest.”
“Wayne had a vision for Valley Stream,” Mayor Ed Fare said. “In particular, his vision saw our village leading the way in the area of waste management. He knew that there was always a better, cleaner, more efficient way to safely dispose of municipal solid waste.”
Work on the multi-stage project involved three phases of capital borrowing, beginning in early 2014, according to village officials, with the demolition and abatement of the trash incinerator that dated back to 1962, and which had remained dormant for roughly 40 years. Removal of the incinerator and the subsequent cleanup cost roughly $1.5 million, according to Village Treasurer Michael Fox.
Engineering and construction of the new roughly 100-by-100-foot warehouse facility, including electrical and plumbing work, cost $7.5 million. All of it, Fox said, was paid for through the issuance of capital bonds.
“We have not at all dipped into general funds,” he said. Debt servicing for the bonds is expected to cost roughly $300,000 a year for their 18-year lifespan.
Outstanding is nearly $1.2 million in change orders that came in the final phases of the project, Fox reported, as additional contaminated soil was discovered, and changes were made to site plans for areas surrounding the warehouse.
“We’re still working out [refund] credits and change orders,” he said of the project’s remaining financial hurdles. “If it looks like it’s going over [budget], we have choices.”
Village officials have said Valley Stream produces roughly 15,000 tons of solid waste annually. In the past, the village paid $85 per ton to Jamaica Ash, the company that the village contracts with for waste removal. Jamaica Ash has reportedly now agreed to pay $75 per ton for the bailed garbage, which is easier to transport, and the village expects to save $130,000 a year on waste removal, Fox said.
In the future, village officials say they anticipate additional revenue streams from the transfer station by allowing neighboring municipalities to pay the village for its use. Those talks, Fox said, are still early.
The facility’s bailer is designed to compact solid waste into 46-by-46-by-46-inch cubes, which are then wrapped in plastic to prevent liquid waste from seeping out and to cut down on odor, according to village Deputy Treasurer David Sabatino, who worked as supervisor overseeing construction at the transfer station for the project’s final months.
“The purpose of the station is the efficient and environmentally friendly transfer of waste,” he said. “The way it was done before, municipal solid waste was open to the air as trucks drove onto the site to the final transfer off of site.”
Now, Sanitation Department garbage trucks will be able to dump waste into the enclosed facility, where a heavy-duty loader will pick up the refuse and drop it into the bailer. A forklift will then load the resulting cubes of waste onto a flatbed truck for transfer off the Island, Sabatino explained. The bailer is scheduled to become operational by mid December.
Memories of Mastrangelo
Throughout the Nov. 15 dedication ceremony, friends, family and co-workers offered their memories of Mastrangelo, and many remarked that his presence could be felt that day.
He got his first job in the village in 1983 in the Parks Department when he was 16, and later transfered to the Sanitation Department, working his way up over the years to supervisor. He met his future wife, Antoinette, in 1985, and living in Merrick, they had two sons together, Jake and Zach.
Christopher Vela, highway supervisor for the village, said he had known Mastrangelo since the two were small children, and recounted growing up playing football and baseball together.
“We had a lot of fun,” he said, and joking. “We had a lot of self-education between the two of us.”
Vela described Mastrangelo as a larger-than-life personality, and noted that it was befitting that such a large-scale project would bear his name.
Additionally, longtime co-worker, friend and current Sanitation Department Supervisor Brian Leavey recounted his memories of Mastrangelo.
He joked that Mastrangelo was often late to work at the Arlington facility, and shared an anecdote of a morning, when to save time, he attempted to jump over the fence on the west end of the facility and tore his shirt in the process. Leavey described him as a loyal and fun friend, and with his voice cracking, said, “We were very close.”
Now, with his name emblazoned on the side of the building that his friend had championed, Leavy noted, “Everyone is gonna know Wayne.”
Mastrangelo’s younger son, Zach, 23, and a member of the United States Coast Guard since August last year, said the new facility was a fitting testament to his father and the hard work that he dedicated to the village.
“He started the lowest of the totem pole, working on the back of a [garbage] truck,” he said of his father. “. . . This [facility] just goes to show that he really knew so much about this place, and wanted the best for it, and I’m just so happy they were able to finish the job.”