TRUMBULL COUNTY Sludge processing: Start slow, then grow
The Big Apple's solid waste is being transported to a plant in Warren.
WARREN -- A New York company is starting slow in doing business with Warren's sludge processing plant, but a project manager agreed that big business could eventually be done here.
"We are sending materials. There are no guarantees on quantities at this point," said Dean Devoe, project manager for Tully Environmental Inc. in Flushing, N.Y.
Tully Environmental is a broker for New York City's solid waste, including 10 boroughs, and contacted Warren last June. The company has been doing business with the city since October and it's going well, Devoe said.
Tom Angelo, city water pollution control director, told a city council committee last month that Warren could be close to a deal to bring hundreds of tons of sludge daily from New York City to Warren, where it would be turned into fertilizer -- and a net annual return to the city of $500,000 to $600,000 the first year.
"Until it actually starts getting up to that level, don't be overzealous. But theoretically it's possible," Devoe said.
The city's bio-solids business markets a fertilizer called Nature's Blend, the city's registered trademark. Nature's Blend is made from reconstituted human waste using a heat pasteurization process.
New York City doesn't have the space to get rid of its own waste, so the material is shipped out of the city.
Right now, the company is gearing up a delivery schedule, although the city has not guaranteed acceptance of a particular amount, he said. Tully Environmental is now looking at bringing in two loads daily, which total about 40 tons, or even three loads -- paying the city $39 a ton to process it.
The company is "working off basically a gentleman's agreement" and is waiting to see a contract draft from the city's law department, Devoe said. The trial run to Warren was to see if there would be odor problems and to be sure the city can handle the truck traffic at its facility.
Tully Environmental also sends material to other facilities in Pennsylvania, New Jersey and upstate New York. "We have four other facilities we send the material to, and we're trying to make commitments to each one based on their reserve capacity," Devoe explained.
Room to grow
There is excess capacity at the city's bio-solids facility at the Water Pollution Control Department on Main Avenue Southwest. Warren has a capacity for 240 tons a day and, by itself, produces only 40 tons a day. Its bio-solids facility was built in 1998 at a cost of $7.2 million.
Angelo has said Tully wants a nine-year contract -- the same amount of time remaining in its contract with New York City. During that time, the city could negotiate increases to the $39 per ton charge, he noted.
Devoe said that the $39 per ton would be negotiable as business increases.
Angelo told the council committee that to date this year the city has revenues of $21,829 from processing New York City sludge.
If successful, the plant could eventually receive up to 168 tons daily by truckload at $39 per ton, Angelo said Warren's revenue per year would be $1.6 million, minus the cost of hauling the product to farmers or to market, maintenance and allowing for any down time. An "extremely conservative" estimate, he said, is a net annual return of $500,000 to $600,000 the first year.