YORKVILLE — Hundreds of locals packed Asphalt Green's aquatics center Thursday night to once again rally against the imminent construction of the marine transfer station to rise along the East River at 91st street.
Resident are afraid that time is running out to stop or alter the Bloomberg administration's vow to break ground on the estimated $240 million project by year's end.
The city received a regulatory greenlight from the Army Corps of Engineers this summer.
Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, which in July announced a planned lawsuit to stop the Yorkville-East Harlem facility from being built, promised they would soon file in federal court.
The group asked the nearly 500 attendees and elected officials— including Assemblyman Micah Kellner and City Councilwoman Jessica Lappin — who gathered Thursday night to step up their on-the-street advocacy efforts, passing out volunteer forms at the meeting.
"The conversation needs to start not with what you should do," Jed Garfield, president of Residents for Sane Trash Solutions, said. "It must start with what you will do."
Calling the station a "monstrosity," Asphalt Green Executive Director Carol Tweedy warned about possible public health risks.
"It's going to make our pretty campus dirty and noisy and filled with the traffic of garbage trucks," she said, later adding that "Emerging science shows that pollution affects DNA."
The city's plan is intended to ensure that every borough bears some of the burden of trash-handling, providing relief to neighborhoods such as the South Bronx and Greenpoint/Williamsburg, who have historically had a disproportionately high number of waste transfer stations.
The Upper East Side facility can process up to 5,280 tons of trash, but it will only handle some 720 tons of residential garbage (72 DSNY trucks) and 780 tons of commercial refuse (71 commercial trucks) each day, according to sanitation officials.
The city's promises that the plant would not operate at full capacity — and would be clean — have done little to allay residents' fears about vermin, noise, and pollution.
"I'm afraid that if the station comes here, my asthma will act up again," said Lorraine Johnson, a 67-year-old retiree and 94th Street resident.
Some Upper East Side residents, however, saw the facility as a necessary evil.
"Obviously, I don't want the dump here," said Rochelle Stempel, who lives on 84th Street. "But it would be unfair everywhere. While I'm concerned, it would bother me more if it were in the Bronx."