University of Delaware
delware environmental institute

News Journal: New York City trash makes pitstop in Delaware

They’re boxy Big Apple castoffs – and just passing through. Sixty or more times a day, heavy black trucks carry 20-ton enclosed containers out of the CSX rail yard off Centerville Road near Boxwood Road and turn south toward Interstate 95. The trucks are part of a little-noticed floating and rolling virtual pipeline connecting New York City wastebaskets to a Chester, Pennsylvania, trash-to-electricity generator. Delaware became part of the connection earlier this year, when New York ramped up new trash disposal options that will send an estimated 400,000 tons of city trash a year to the Covanta Delaware Valley incinerator.

The new setup – part of a 20- to 30-year deal worth a potential $2.8 billion to the company – turned from highway, truck-only shipments to rail-delivered containers for most of the trip from Staten Island, New York.

And its path cuts right through Delaware.

The trash, all of it residential material, originates in Queens and Manhattan and is loaded into the cube-like boxes, which are put on barges and sent to Staten Island, then eventually loaded into CSX train cars. One train typically carries 48 units, according to Covanta.