The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has approved American Organic Energy’s permit to construct an innovative solid waste management facility at its Yaphank location.
The permit allows the Long Island-based AOE to “operate a solid waste management facility authorized to receive and process up to 85,000 tons per year of yard waste, up to 3,000 cubic yards per day of unadulterated wood materials and up to 215,000 tons per year of source-separated organic waste for processing in the anaerobic digester.”
The company expects to break ground early this Spring, beginning with a visitor center so the public can see the operation in a completely secure and clean environment.
“The public deserves complete transparency,” said Charles Vigliotti, AOE’s chief executive officer, explaining why he chose to start work on the visitor center first. “Without them, our vision would never become a reality. One of the most inspiring aspects of this project is how many stakeholders came together to support our efforts. It’s rare to find this level of cooperation among so many disparate parties coming together with the singular goal to create a better tomorrow.”
Once it’s completed, the AOE facility is expected to be the most state-of-the-art anaerobic digester and organic waste disposal system in the nation. To pull off this engineering feat and ultimately achieve the goal of 100 percent sustainability, several companies around the world were tapped to provide the most modern technologies available. GE Water, Caterpillar, Eggersman, Green Arrow Engineering, Louis Perry, VHB, Camco International Group, Baker Tilly Capital, Scotts Miracle-Gro and Long Island Compost all contributed to make this project feasible.
AOE’s anaerobic digester will convert organic waste into fertilizer, biogas fuel, electricity and nutrient-rich water, effectively eliminating 40,000 tons of greenhouse gas emissions from the local environment and reducing the equivalent of 2,000 gallons of diesel fuel. Instead, the Yaphank facility will produce biogas fuel to power the fleet of trucks that will go out to collect the waste. The entire facility will run on the electricity generated there. The end product will be distributed as compost and fertilizer.
One of the early proponents of AOE’s project was Adrienne Esposito, the executive director of the nonprofit Citizens Campaign for the Environment.
“The research, the time, the energy that went into this is really phenomenal,” said Esposito. “The more we looked into it, the more we loved it. It’s a significant game-changer for solid waste treatment on Long Island—and I don’t say that too often.”
Esposito worked closely with local community members and other organizations to address any quality of life issues and environmental concerns raised by the Yaphank proposal. The result is an organic waste treatment facility lauded by government officials, environmentalists and community members alike.
In September 2015 Gov. Andrew Cuomo said in a statement that AOE’s anaerobic digester will “build upon this administration’s commitment to expand the state’s use of renewable energy and reduce our carbon footprint.”
Now that it has the DEC’s approval, the company expects a permit soon from the Town of Brookhaven, which would be the final step before it begins to revolutionize the organic waste disposal process in New York.