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Covanta WTE Rail-to-Truck Intermodal Facility

Niagara Falls, New York

Waste-to-Energy Storage


Covanta Energy


AECOM - Grand Rapids, MI


Kendey Company


May 2015

In Niagara Falls, New York, three engineering firms were involved in different phases of design for a new intermodal facility for Covanta – one of the world’s largest owners and operators of infrastructure for the conversion of waste-to-energy. Contech Engineered Solutions was very pleased to be able to provide assistance with the stormwater management system required in conjunction to this rail-to-truck intermodal facility being constructed as part of the expansion project for Covanta Niagara. This system was unique in that it would help to facilitate the handling of runoff from one of just under 100 waste-to-energy (WTE) facilities in use across the United States according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website and was the second in which Contech had been directly involved. Energy recovery from waste is the conversion of non-recyclable waste materials into useable heat, electricity, or fuel through a variety of processes, included but not limited to combustion, gasification, pyrolization, anaerobic digestions and landfill gas (LFG) recovery. This process is known as waste-to-energy (WTE).

In addition to providing essential trash disposal services for cities and towns across the country, today’s WTE plants generate clean, renewable energy. Through the combustion of everyday household trash in facility with state-of-the-art environmental controls, these WTE facilities play a key role in providing viable alternatives to communities that would otherwise have no option but to buy power from conventional power plants and dispose of their trash in landfills.

The engineering team at AECOM worked closely with the Covanta Niagara Resource Recovery Facility to design and implement this unique stormwater management system that would retain runoff from the WTE plant. The facility processes 2,250 tons of waste per day, selling the steam to adjacent chemical facilities and the electricity to the New York State power grid.

In preparation for the development of the intermodal facility’s planned expansion project, AECOM teamed up with Contech to design a DuroMaxx® steel reinforced polyethylene (SRPE) storage tank and two CDS® pretreatment systems to handle much of the contaminated runoff associated with the  plant’s day-to-day activities. The 96-inch diameter DuroMaxx system runs 383 linear feet with bulkheads at either end and two access risers. The system was capable of 18,655 cf of storage (roughly 140,000 gallons) while pretreatment by a CDS 2020-5 unit and 4040-8 unit would provide 100% capture of trash and debris and ensures that all treated runoff meet New York State Department of Environmental Conservation water quality requirements and goals. As part of the design, the DuroMaxx storage system was required to maintain a low leakage rate of less than 100 gallons per day. With a 30 psi welded coupler (WC) joint, DuroMaxx provided an optimal solution. Both the DuroMaxx system and the CDS pretreatment units would need to meet a TS-9972 Reach Stacker load rating allowing for a 99,000-lbs. load. The runoff would be captured and retained in this unique system prior to being pumped to the local wastewater treatment plant (WWTP) for true treatment.

This expansion project is situated on approximately 15-acres along the railroad tracks on the eastern edge of a larger, former industrial complex located on 47th Street in the City of Niagara Falls, New York. It is a continued effort by Covanta as part of the Brownfield Cleanup Program which New York enacted to encourage the voluntary cleanup of contaminated properties known as “brownfields” so that they can be reused and redeveloped. Covanta Niagara is just one of over 40 national Voluntary Protection Programs (VPP) star facilities operated by Covanta.

Technical Description:

  • Product: DuroMaxx® SRPE Storage System with 30 psi WC joints
  • Diameter: 96-in.
  • Length 383 LF
  • Additional Product: CDS® 4040-8 Unit and 2020-5 Unit

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