UPDATE: New York town unhappy with Waste Management odor agreement
UPDATE March 16, 2018: The Town of Perinton, NY is asking for more in the agreement between the state and Waste Management, as reported by the Democrat & Chronicle. The town, where the High Acres Landfill is located, said it was "dissatisfied with Waste Management's efforts and lack of progress to eliminate odors" and proposed four additional recommendations.
Perinton wants to see: suspended MSW at the site if odor abatement is not completed by April 30; monitoring of gas collection at two cells before allowing expansion into a third; Waste Management take in less waste overall, until it can prove it has a grasp on odor issues; and for High Acres to operate the residential drop-off area, with disposal at another site, at no cost to residents.
The town's baseball little league said it will not operate a complex across the street from the landfill this season, citing health concerns for the players and families.
- The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has authorized a new odor abatement plan for the High Acres Landfill, as first reported by WHAM. DEC first issued a Notice of Violation to Waste Management in early February, after residential complaints.
- The plan calls for Waste Management to install an extended geomembrane cover with additional piping for gas collection. Waste Management will continually find, replace and repair any landfill gas connection infrastructure "as needed" and wells are already being monitored more than frequently.
- Additionally, Waste Management will provide monthly updates on odor mitigation to DEC and the Town of Perinton, where the landfill is located. The company will also continue to provide email updates to residents, state and local officials, notifying them of completed and upcoming site work.
Waste Management appears to be taking the odor complaints seriously, and since at least October 2017 has been publishing semi-regular updates about the situation at High Acres Landfill. The company first announced the upcoming installation of 9 acres of geosynthetic cover and over 10,000 ft of landfill gas piping in early December.
Since then, the company says, it has installed that cover and added more cover soils each day; cleared a blockage with a 24-inch collection gas collection header and installed about 2 miles of gas collection piping. Waste Management says it is also taking steps to hire permanent staff to support the new infrastructure and increase monitoring and maintenance of the landfill gas system.
This all after months of complaints from neighbors and some construction work at the landfill that exposed aged trash to summer heat and rain, exacerbating the odor. Waste Management said in February the Notice of Violation from the DEC was the first it had received in its "nearly five-decade history of operation," according to the Democrat & Chronicle. At the time, the state said the company may be liable for penalties for past or future violations.
The site is part of a contract with the New York Department of Sanitation, making it a valuable asset for Waste Management. The nearby Seneca Meadows Landfill, owned by Waste Connections, has faced similar odor issues. CEO Ron Mittelstaedt previously told Waste Dive the company moved its subsidiary, Progressive Waste Solutions, out of a bid with New York City after the town of Seneca Falls raised issues with the proposal. Both have become examples of the trend to export material from urban areas to more rural locations, one which local residents have resisted when odors and other effects occur.
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