AVAC, a groundbreaking, innovative trash system is also broken

AVAC, a groundbreaking, innovative trash system is also broken

AVAC, a rare trash-hauling system keeping garbage off the streets, has been broken for months. But you probably don’t know about it because RIOC’s crack Communications Team is asleep at the wheel.

By David Stone

The Roosevelt Island Daily News

If you live in a building on Roosevelt Island, you throw your trash out down chutes like in other high-rise apartments. But instead of the usual process — building staff processing the garbage, bagging it, and putting it on the street — the waste stays in an inlet until a sensor notes that the garbage has reached a certain level. The AVAC system automatically starts up, opens the valve, and sucks that garbage at 60 to 70 miles per hour through 20 inch underground tubes to the central facility. In total, the pneumatic waste system serves over 14,000 residents and more than two dozen buildings.

INSIDE ROOSEVELT ISLAND’S FUTURISTIC PNEUMATIC TUBE TRASH SYSTEM, Untapped Cities

But AVAC’s a broken trash system…

Aside from the repeated, preposterous error — “14,000 residents” — that’s a pretty good, concise description. Until it isn’t.

Because at least nine of those two dozen buildings are without AVAC service and have been for months.

On June 2nd, stacks of black bags greet people exiting the Tram, courtesy of the broken AVAC trash system.

Once it shut down media access to all its employees, RIOC’s alleged Communications Team adopted a practice of redirecting infrastructure inquiries to their webpage. But a search there reveals not a single word about the broken trash system.

It stinks

A nauseating stench filling Southtown hallways first alerted residences, earlier in the spring. AVAC rooms often smell bad because RIOC does not rinse out its piping system. Months of rotting residue builds up in the tubes.

But this was different. It was worse, and residents were soon sickened.

The cause, they found, was that the AVAC system was shut down from at least Rivercross south. In the absence of any notices from RIOC’s alleged Communications Team, though, they’d been tossing fresh trash into the chutes, anyway.

The stink was unbearable.

Building managers, then, got things under control, sealing off the chutes and leaving those big black bags hanging from the handles.

Not only are the big black plastic bags unsightly, indoors and out, but they are environmentally unsound. But the broken trash system leaves managers without another choice.

A broken trash system meets a super secret public agency

As reported numerous times before, RIOC pledged to restrict its public outreach to “branding” and “marketing,” bizarre though that is. When the AVAC’s down, it doesn’t fit into either category, and residents are seen primarily as nuisances on the way to bloated salaries for unqualified bureaucrats.

Because of RIOC’s press censorship, we don’t know why the “futuristic” trash system is broken.

But we talked with one building manager who recalled RIOC describing a large blockage. The bad news: That blockage has lasted for months with no signs of a fix.

They also, he said, told him that the whole system was down, clearly a falsehood.

So, for as long as we know, at least for Rivercross and Southtown, the futuristic trash system stays stuck in the mid 20th Century.

None of this bodes well for Roosevelt Island as the prolonged shutdown signals RIOC unable to secure a fix.

How long will this blockage last? Who knows?

But a greater concern is the next one. Where will it be? And how many will be affected?

RIOC exhibits no sign that it has any clue about managing an aging trash system, choosing silence over public concerns.

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