UPDATE: The Seneca Falls Town Board voted to pass a law that would close the Seneca Meadows Landfill by Dec. 31, 2025. Local Law 3, which was passed 4-1 in a meeting on Dec. 6, also prohibits the site's expansion or the siting of any new waste facilities, as reported by the Finger Lakes Times.
In a separate issue, the board did not act on renewing the site's permit. While the landfill's local permit expired months ago its state permit is valid until Oct. 10, 2017.
Newly elected board members who will take their seats in January have been supportive of negotiating a new host community benefit agreement rather than banning the site outright. It's possible that a new law could be passed which would repeal Local Law 3, after a public hearing was held and state regulatory requirements were met. Seneca Meadows has also indicated that it may pursue legal action.
- The Town Board of Seneca Falls, NY delayed a vote on whether to renew the controversial Seneca Meadows Landfill's permit at its most recent meeting, citing the possibility of a new host community benefits agreement, as reported by the Finger Lakes Times.
- The site's state permit expires in October 2017 and Seneca Meadows is looking for a 10-year renewal. Opposition from the town would be a setback and could lead to the passage of a local law which prohibits any solid waste facilities from operating without a permit, essentially shutting down the landfill.
- Work was recently started on a 50-acre capping project in an effort to address community odor concerns. The design includes new layers of plastic, clay soil and gas collection systems.
The residents of Seneca Falls have long had a contentious relationship with the landfill, complaining about its potential environmental effects while also relying on its economic benefits. In 2015, Seneca Falls received $2.7 million in revenue and neighboring town Waterloo received $600,000 as part of a host community agreement. The landfill also paid more than $400,000 in sales tax and provides free waste disposal for local residents.
While the true economic outcome of shutting down the site is unknown, its detractors have already affected the budgets of other municipalities. Community opposition was cited as a factor in owner Progressive Waste Solutions' decision to pull out of a 20-year deal to import waste from New York. Because of this, one of the city's brand new marine transfer stations sits dormant and a back-up plan for exporting the waste hasn't been announced yet.
In an effort to turn around public opinion, Seneca Meadows now has more information on its website and videos about how the site operates. Last month, the landfill also hosted its first open house in three years to answer questions from residents. The day included tours, train rides, free chicken, a juggler and falcons.