Middletown scales back Transfer Station days of operation

Staff report
The Town of Middletown will no longer operate its solid waste Transfer Station on Mondays, effective Jan. 4. The town board voted unanimously at its November meeting to cut Transfer Station operation to six days as a budget-cutting measure. The move is projected to save more than $14,000 in salary and benefit costs.
In deciding to scale back Transfer Station operation, the board agreed that users of the facility would still have ample opportunity to dispose of their garbage. Transfer Station Manager Roger Davis indicated that Mondays are the most logical day to close, particularly since the county landfill in Walton does not operate on that day.
It was also noted by the board that the Middletown facility has far more hours of Transfer Station operation than any neighboring facility.
In other activity at the board’s December 8 meeting, the board again discussed a request from Fleischmanns resident Gloria Zola-Molloy to consider a ban on natural gas drilling in the township.
Responding to this appeal, Supervisor Len Utter pointed to a state law that places all regulatory power over gas drilling with the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC).
Supervisor Utter said that road protection is the only aspect of the gas drilling process that municipalities can control. He noted that hundreds of trucks hauling water to and from drilling sites could result in significant damage to roadways.
Ms. Zola-Molloy also asked the board about the potential harmful effects of the chemicals used during the horizontal drilling process known as “hydrofracking.” This type of drilling will be necessary to release gas from the Marcellus Shale, the huge deposit of natural gas that lays beneath a number of states in the northeast.
Hydrofracking utilizes dozens of chemicals that are mixed with water and sprayed at very high pressure to free the gas from the rock formations in which it’s trapped.
Supervisor Utter responded that many of the chemicals utilized in this process are commonly found in everyday applications. The supervisor said he didn’t think the chemicals posed a threat to the environment.
Board member Brian Sweeney disagreed. He said his research of hydrofracking had shown numerous instances of environmental problems that have resulted from this drilling process.
Mr. Sweeney said he would like to see the town impose the tightest restrictions allowed on potential drilling. The board member also said he hopes the DEC will use the public comments being sought on natural gas drilling (this period ends Dec. 31) to update its regulations to provide greater environmental safeguards.