by Terry Duffy
Waste Management, parent company of CWM Chemical Services LLC, this week released updated results of an economic and fiscal impact study of the CWM hazardous waste landfill in the Town of Porter. Developed in 2009 by Bonadio & Co., the study was revised and updated in 2010.
According to WM, the latest study replaces the 2009 version in its entirety.
Currently, Bonadio estimates "the annual positive economic impact" of CWM operations to Niagara County to be nearly $12 million.
The study notes that CWM has applied for a permit modification with the state Department of Environmental Conservation that, if approved, would allow for development of a new 50-acre landfill cell within its Balmer Road facility, referred to as Residual Management Unit 2.
The "new 50-acre landfill cell (RMU-2) within its current site (would) allow for ongoing and uninterrupted commercial waste land disposal," the Bonadio report stated. "Proposed RMU-2 is a double-lined land disposal facility in a geologically suitable location that will accommodate approximately 4 million cubic yards of waste. The footprint includes approximately five acres of perimeter berm, and 39 acres designated for waste."
"RMU-2 will extend the life of the facility for approximately 32 years, assuming average annual volumes of 165,000 tons per year."
In its analysis of RMU-2's potential impact on the regional economy of Niagara County, the Bonadio report projected a total of $22.56 million in gross receipt taxes to be paid to the towns of Lewiston and Porter and the Lewiston-Porter, Niagara-Wheatfield and Wilson school districts over the anticipated life of RMU-2.
WM reported earlier that, per its existing host community agreements, $455,256 in gross receipt taxes was paid out to the towns of Lewiston and Porter, plus the school districts, reflecting revenue generated by CWM landfilling operations in 2010. Broken down, individual totals were: $151,752 each to the towns of Lewiston and Porter, $110,496 to the Lewiston-Porter School District, $32,341 to the Niagara-Wheatfield School District and $8,915 to the Wilson School District.
Bonadio projected more than $44 million to be paid Porter and Lewiston in school and property taxes over the 32-year planned life of RMU-2. And it estimated direct and indirect WM contributions to the local and state economy over the 32-year period to be almost $1.2 billion.
Should the DEC modification permit application be denied and RMU-2 is not developed, Bonadio forecasts, "... Operations would be significantly reduced when RMU-1 reaches capacity and is closed. In that event, Model City facility would cease current operations, eliminating a significant portion of the accompanying community benefits."
At this writing, CWM's permit modification application remains under review by the state DEC. Engineer Stephen Rydzyk at the CWM facility estimates the remaining capacity life of the current RMU-1 landfill to be 357,267 cubic yards or about 570,000 tons as of March 1, 2011.
Commenting on the study, Lewiston resident Amy Witryol, who recently served on the Town of Lewiston Citizen's Advisory Committee on CWM, stated, "Bonadio fully disclaimed CWM's report, which I believe represents a fraudulent analysis. If the report were remotely true, why wouldn't every economic development agency in the U.S. be soliciting CWM to move to their community? I spent a career in financial analysis reviewing these kinds of reports and would welcome a meeting with anyone from CWM in any public building to discuss its contents or lack thereof."
The study can be viewed online at: http://www0.wm.com/wm/docs/CWM_Chemical_Services_LLC_Report-Final.pdf.