- The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ruled that CWM Chemical Services can no longer operate a landfill traversing the Lewiston-Porter town line in New York without a permit to discharge treated leachate or precipitation runoff—which it has done for some time, and has then pumped it into the Niagara River.
- EPA denied the Department of Environmental Conservation’s (DEC) request for CWM to be able to increase its load into the river if it were to open a new landfill, writing that the local agency "should be requiring the off-site treatment of leachate, or an alternative solution that decreases the discharge of (chemicals)," as reported in The Buffalo News.
- The DEC will revise water discharge permit requirements to address the EPA's objections. CWM should receive a status report on discussions between DEC and the EPA by April 25, and a siting board will vote on whether to recommend a new proposed landfill to the DEC commissioner.
"Even if CWM provides a demonstration of economic need for this expansion, the requirements … mandate that no lowering of water quality shall be allowed, under any circumstance," wrote Alyssa Arcaya of EPA’s Clean Water Regulatory Branch to The Buffalo News, adding that the Niagara River "is not achieving its best use." It is listed as a problem site for its PCBs and dioxin content—problems bad enough to prompt a fish consumption advisory.
Gary A. Abraham, an attorney for the local governments, does not believe CWM can meet the forthcoming tougher standards. "So it looks like CWM has run up against a wall," he said as reported in The Buffalo News. "CWM must find another way of treating water from their site and taking it outside the Great Lakes basin for disposal."
CWM will meet other permit challenges as it pursues expansion, including over a required air emissions permit; there is currently concern that a new landfill could release radioactive material through the construction and operation processes.
The water and air discharge permits may be entered for discussion in a proposed summer hearing.