McInerney discusses ‘A More Sustainable Lewiston’
√ New Modern services expected to begin later this summer
By Terry Duffy
With the Lewiston Town Board on “summer status” – with one regular meeting held each month and no work sessions on the calendar until September – one would think the board’s workload would lighten. That was not the case Monday, as a number of items were covered – including news on Modern Disposal’s waste/recycling services for the community.
Michael McInerney, CEO of Modern Disposal Services Inc., visited with company officials to provide a detailed presentation titled “A More Sustainable Lewiston.” He discussed significant upgrades in Modern’s current services to the nearly 5,200 households the company services in the town. Currently, Modern offers Monday trash pickups of waste containers provided by residents, along with recycling services with 18-gallon totes provided by the company. Residents also have access to the Modern facility on a once-per-month basis for drop-offs.
McInerney said that all this is about to change.
“We aim to improve this; employ the latest technology. We aim to showcase the latest technology to our homebase in Lewiston,” he said. The company seeks to improve the aesthetics of its services in Lewiston and “create a cleaner, quieter community.”
McInerney said “targeted problems” include addressing loosely discarded trash and recycling items that await pickups, and reducing vermin, while “enhancing the service performance in the community” that Modern has served for more than 50 years.
McInerney went on to detail four approaches: A phase 1 enhanced recycling program; Modern’s phase II expanded trash and bulk services; a phase III automated trash service; and a phase IV focusing on an organics collection program for residents.
•Phase I will see those smaller, 18-gallon recycling totes replaced by new, 96- and 65-gallon recycling carts (for smaller users) distributed to residences. Automated collections would be utilized.
The containers would be owned by the company. Residents can expect to see them by late August.
McInerney said Modern is pursuing state grant funding to implement the program.
•Phase II would see expanded bulk trash services with a new, seven-days-per-week drop-off capability.
“What we mean by bulk services is anything that doesn’t fit in a trash container – chairs, mattresses, construction material. We want to expand that service,” McInerney said.
Under this phase, Modern would expand what it accepts at its recycling center, expected to be located just outside the scales at the Modern landfill. Time frames would expand from the current one-day-per-month service.
Acceptable household materials include trash, light construction debris, furniture, carpeting, yard waste, tires, appliances, food wastes, metals, recyclables, mattresses/box springs and clothing for donation.
Under universal wastes, acceptable items would include household batteries, automotive batteries, light ballasts/starters, fluorescent bulbs, propane tanks, waste oils, electronic wastes, thermostats, smoke detectors, sharps, pharmaceuticals and latex/oil-based paints.
Modern would also implement a bulk trash concierge service with scheduled pickups provided for bulk trash.
•Phase III would involve Modern’s automated trash pickup. Currently utilized in a number of communities, including Niagara Falls and the Town of Porter, Modern would provide 96-gallon carts for trash collections to all households; and utilize side-automated, compressed natural gas-powered trucks for pickups in neighborhoods. Individual containers provided by residents would no longer be used, and trash manually picked up by Modern crews would end.
McInerney said this change allows for greater efficiency in pickups, while reducing manpower and costs, with a goal of overall safer operations at the curb.
•Phase IV is a new program of organics collection services to be availed for residents. A voluntary program to be offered by the company, McInerney said participants would be provided a five-gallon receptacle to gather organic wastes for weekly pickups.
“We’d like to go to a food waste/organics collection program for those residents who would like to recycle composed (materials),” McInerney said. “We have partnership arrangements with composters and digesters. We would take that material; it would be managed to create gas to power engines, produce electricity.
“(Here) we would start out small, on a voluntary basis.”
Another part of this phase would handle backyard wastes, where residents would be better able to manage their backyard composting.
“We just started going down that path. We’re excited; we think this is going to make a big difference,” McInerney said.
Residents will receive information from Modern with respect to the new trash and recycling receptacles and the acceptable items for recycling pickup.
“We’ll have flyers outlining all of this,” McInerney said.
He indicated a late-August start for distribution of the new trash and recycling carts. McInerney said Modern would begin working with the cart manufacturer and compile a list of residents.
It was also announced Monday that Modern and town officials are planning for an electronics recycling event, expected to take place at the town Highway Department garage. No date has been set.
Town Supervisor Steve Broderick and Clerk Donna Garfinkel were among town officials expressing excitement on the Modern updates, particularly with respect to phase II.
“I am excited for the opportunity for our town residents to participate more in recycling and have the opportunity, seven days a week, to dispose of electronics, tires, hazardous paint and other materials,” Broderick said.
“The clerk’s office gets at least three to calls a day on this,” Garfinkel said. “Phase II – that will be huge for residents. That they can go out to Modern every day of the week instead of that one time.
“I already have my truck loaded; I’m ready to go. Phase II, that will be great.”
Discussions closed with Broderick advising the town would work with Modern officials should a grant become reality.
Residents are advised to keep an eye out for updates on the new services from Modern.
•The town announced the hiring of Tim Smith as the new director of the Lewiston Recreation Department.
“Tim is excited to hit the ground running,” Broderick said. “Tim actually has attended a few things over the last couple of weeks, trying to get familiar” with us. “He’s a Lew-Port grad, he was a soccer coach at Niagara University.”
Broderick said Smith’s appointment was a provisional hire, subject to his passing a civil service exam.
“We’re looking forward to working with Tim,” he said.
Smith’s appointment took effect June 26. His salary is $52,275. He succeeds Cathy Cvijetinovic, who left the position earlier this year.
•The board approved a number of enhancements for Lewiston green spaces and parks, including: the purchase of 10 new, standard-size cast iron park benches – including five 8-foot benches to be placed at the newly named Town of Lewiston Riverfront Park across from the Senior Center, and 5-foot benches to be situated in green areas by the bike path on Lower River Road.
The benches are similar in style to those found in the Village of Lewiston. They will be mounted on concrete bases. Total price approved by the board, including installation, is $17,440.
Also approved was a motion by Broderick to purchase 10 new, 45-gallon, standard-size refuse containers at a cost of $13,198.04 (including shipping). Five each would be placed in the new park and along the riverside green spaces.
Broderick said the board is working with Cooper Signs for new Town of Lewiston signage for all park areas, including the Riverfront Park and Camp Stonehaven. He said the designs were still being finalized, but he likened them to the familiar signage seen at the Orange Cat Coffee Co.
•Wrapping up, Broderick offered words of praise to recreation staffer Nicole who covered all responsibilities of the Recreation Department while the town sought a new director.
“Nicole held down the fort while we really didn’t have a recreation director. I really want to thank Nicole, who worked tirelessly for a few months,” he said.