- Ontario County, NY officials announced late last week that the third and final permit to expand Ontario County Landfill has been granted, allowing Casella Waste Systems to create a new 43.5-acre deposit area at the existing landfill.
- The air permit was issued by Department of Environmental Conservation in Albany, following the issuance of a wetlands permit and a Part 360 landfill operations permit. The air permit determines that the landfill and a gas-to-energy plant on the site, operated by Innovative Energy Solutions, are not under common control and should have two separate air permits.
- The Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition is opposing the expansion, on the grounds that emissions from the landfill and the waste-to-energy plant should be considered as a single source. Zero Waste President Doug Knipple called the DEC's decision "an erroneous determination on common control."
For years, the controversy over air permits at the Ontario County Landfill has been brewing. In 2012, the DEC granted two separate air permits for the landfill, making the initial decision that the landfill and on-site waste-to-energy site are not under common control. However a fight from the Finger Lakes Zero Waste Coalition caused the EPA to investigate the matter in July 2015, requesting more information from the DEC on its decision.
Now that the EPA received necessary information from the DEC to grant the permits, it seems as though the Zero Waste Coalition may have lost its battle. "The issuance of all three final permits in a form nearly identical to the draft permits demonstrates the commitment the county and Casella have to construct and operate a state of the art, environmentally safe landfill that meets or exceeds all regulatory requirements," Ontario County officials stated in a press release.
However the group is still concerned about the site, stating, "determining potential emission limits should include emissions from all facilities."
This expansion is not the only waste industry controversy that the Finger Lakes community has been involved in recently. Seneca Falls has also been actively opposing a $3.3 billion trash train proposal that would transport nearly 2,500 tons of garbage daily by train from New York City to the Seneca Mills Landfill.