- The Ontario County Board of Supervisors has rejected Casella Waste Systems' request for a variance application to its approved landfill expansion permit that would have enabled Casella to reduce the distance between the liner base to the underground bedrock from 10 feet to 5 feet. If the proposal were approved, Casella could have saved nearly $2 million, as reported in Finger Lakes Times.
- Casella officials said the construction savings would have been diverted to fund two household hazardous waste days and 100 labor hours to help the county implement its solid waste management plan.
- The board originally returned the motion to its Environmental Quality Committee who heard from Casella before it was voted down.
Casella Regional Vice President Larry Shilling said the DEC has recognized that five feet of depth is good for landfills, although the agency’s regulations have not been amended to reflect this allowance. But the DEC did approve a variance laying out the same request in Broome County in February.
"There is quite a bit of science behind this," said Shilling to the Finger Lakes Times.
The naysers weren’t convinced that there were no unknowns. Some of them thought only digging half the distance as Casella originally proposed could possibly lead to problems decades down the road. Casella will now dish out the extra $1.8 million they would have saved in construction costs as the company moves forward on the recently approved expansion, while the county feels it has a safety net.
"I’d much rather see 10 feet of dirt under the liner instead of 5," said Board Member Peg Hilton as reported in Finger Lakes Times. "I just cannot be certain that 5 feet is better than 10 feet."