Upstate New York residents sue Waste Management over landfill odor, noise
- A group called Fresh Air For the Eastside joined 214 residents of Perinton and Macedon, New York to file a lawsuit against High Acres Landfill operator Waste Management, alleging odor and noise from the site is lowering property values and decreasing quality of life, as reported by the Democrat & Chronicle.
- The plaintiff seeks damages from Waste Management and reduced landfill usage, claiming interference with their ability to enjoy life and property, as their children cannot play outside and that they cannot open their windows.
- Waste Management's Jeff Richardson explained in a video that a blocked drain pipe was one issue that contributed to the odor, saying "...Our leachate generation in 2017 [was] double that of what it was in 2016. So we've had some challenges in the collection and conveyance arena just because water is watering out lines, it's watering out gas wells ... It's nothing we can't engineer around." He added it takes a significant amount of time to get new engineering applications approved since landfill operations are highly regulated by various agencies.
Part of the complaint stems from noise from rail operations at the facility. High Acres, New York's second-largest landfill, is the only one in the state allowed to receive waste from New York City via rail. This is part of a larger $3.3 billion contract that was originally slated to send material to another upstate site now owned by Waste Connections.
Other complaints include underground methane explosions that cause disturbance, odor neutralizing chemicals that make people feel sick and vermin infestations in certain locations.
In March, the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) authorized an odor abatement plan for High Acres. The DEC had issued a notice of violation to the company in February. The Town of Perinton, where the landfill is located, later asked that additional recommendations be put in the agreement between the DEC and the facility.
The same group that filed this lawsuit have also sent a petition to the DEC asking for changes to the landfill's Part 360 permit. Their requests include closing open cells on the Perinton side of the site and reducing permitted capacity at the remaining cells, among other items.
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