Gary Giordano is probably thankful for his equipment problems. Mr. Giordano was scheduled to meet with World Trade Center building managers shortly after the first Boeing 767 jet hit the north tower on September 11, 2001. His recycling and waste hauling companies, Galaxy Recycling Inc. and Galaxy Carting Inc., held solid waste management contracts for most of the buildings in the World Trade Center complex — including the twin towers. Due to last minute equipment problems and bad traffic, he was delayed and he is alive today.
According to Mr. Giordano, the companies didn’t suffer any personnel loss but did lose a significant amount of business and approximately U.S.$100,000 worth of equipment. The impacts to the waste management industry were felt across the border too.
On September 13, 2001, U.S. Ambassador to Canada Paul Cellucci called for closer harmonization of U.S. and Canadian immigration laws in the wake of the terrorist attacks on New York and Washington earlier that week. He suggests special entry points to North America that would be run jointly by both countries. As the U.S.’s most important trading partner, Canada has the most to lose from a tightened border. Those costs became immediately apparent in long line-ups immediately following the incidents; at least one major Canadian plant, Ford Canada, had to close as parts supplies were held up.
On September 26, a day after Prime Minister Jean Chretien promised U.S. President George W. Bush that he would tighten up security at the borders, the federal government issued the highest state of alert at all points of entry. (See Final Analysis, page 62.)
Even before the terrorist incidents, on September 7, the City of Toronto’s waste wars with the State of Michigan heated up when state inspectors launched a surprise inspection blitz of trucks hauling waste into the U.S. According to Chief Milton Scales, director of the office of criminal investigations for the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality, it was the first time that inspectors used radiation detectors to scan transports entering the country. Forty-seven heavy trucks crossing the Bluewater Bridge were scanned for hazardous radioactive waste; none was found to contain any such waste. Last spring, Toronto signed a five-year contract to increase the flow of waste to two Michigan landfills by as much as one million tonnes per year.
Devastation and debris
The waste from the World Trade Center collapse on September 13, 2001 was taken by barge to the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, New York. The smoldering rubble at “ground zero” was a vast combination of more than one million tonnes of concrete, metal, glass, paints, plastics, solvents, office furniture, vehicles and decomposing bodies. Before disposal each load is inspected for body parts.
At the Pentagon site, Arlington County provided support services, collecting and disposing of waste generated by firefighters and rescue workers.
Total amounts of debris disposed were unavailable at press time.
For information on the emergency response, health effects, and other impacts of the terrorist attacks, see the October/November 2001 edition of sister publication Hazardous Materials Management, linked to www.solidwastemag.com.