Casella begins using new landfill cell in upstate New York

Dive Brief:

  • Casella Waste Services has begun using the first of two new cells at the Ontario County Landfill in upstate New York which are part of a 43.5-acre expansion project, as reported by the Finger Lakes Times.
  • The state Department of Environmental Conversation approved the expansion within the landfill's existing footprint earlier this year in order to extend capacity to 2028. Some new gas collection infrastructure has been installed, with more planned for the coming years, and the methane will be used to power turbines that generate electricity.
  • Casella paid the county $18 million in addition to expansion costs. Half of that will go to the county's general fund and the other half will go toward helping reduce waste generation 60% by 2028.

Dive Insight:

While Victor Post reported that the local planning director said Ontario County wants to “get out of the landfill business" at a recent event, it isn't ready to do so just yet. If the expansion hadn't been approved the landfill might already be at capacity due in part to the large amount of waste it currently imports. Ontario's local reduction goals may prove challenging, but in two promising signs local food waste diversion efforts are ongoing and the county has been recycling more material over the past six months.

Less than 20 miles away, public opinion is still very mixed on a potential expansion of the Seneca Meadows Landfill. The site also imports large amounts of waste and pushback to that system caused a major deal between Progressive Waste Solutions and New York to fall through earlier this year. The approval of a new host community benefits agreement is pending along with a local law that would restrict the operation of new solid waste facilities.

Casella has been experiencing its own landfill challenges in Massachusetts due to contamination concerns at the Southbridge site that have put its expansion permit on hold. Landfills aren't often popular in local communities, but these instances show that they can at least be palatable on a case-by-case basis depending on the potential benefits involved.

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Filed Under: Landfill
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