Supervisors will learn this month what engineers found in their investigation of stench from the Ontario County landfill.
The Planning and Environmental Quality Committee will review a report from SCS Engineers the county hired in December, along with findings by an independent consultant hired by landfill manager Casella Waste Systems at a special meeting April 24. At issue is landfill odor that dramatically increased and has persisted since last fall during an expansion at the site in the town of Seneca.
On Monday, the committee took up the matter of Casella’s landfill lease with the county that expires in 2028. With just nine years to go to decide what will happen with the landfill, the committee passed a “Call to Action.” The resolution sets a deadline of Sept. 12, 2019, for a strategic plan to be presented to the Board of Supervisors. The plan for the Department of Sustainability and Solid Waste Management would establish goals and objectives to use the years remaining before the lease expires — to “assess the needs of the community, create programs and/or infrastructure, educate residents and seek to change behavior in order to move the collective focus toward waste reduction, recycling, and reuse opportunities …” among other goals.
Canadice Town Supervisor Kris Singer, who heads the committee, emphasized that the resolution to come before the full Board of Supervisors April 18 spells “a sense of urgency.”
“We need to be prepared for the closure and post closure of the landfill,” Singer said. Decisions have to be made about reducing the need for the landfill and what will happen with waste from Ontario County, she said. The “Call to Action” requires setting goals and a timeline for meeting those goals, she added.
The Ontario County landfill is the third largest landfill in the state, with the majority of trash coming from outside Ontario County including New York City. The permit allows up to 2,999 tons daily, or nearly 1 million tons annually, taken in at the site on about 300 acres that includes recycling facilities. The recent expansion allowed Casella to develop an additional 43 acres and raise the mountain of trash an additional 28 feet, up to 1,024 feet.
At Monday’s meeting, one committee member voted “no” on the “Call to Action” resolution. Geneva City Supervisor Lou Guard said the resolution lacks specifics he finds necessary. “Primarily, I want it to explicitly state the current lease will not be renewed,” Guard said Tuesday. He also believes the resolution should specify that the county will close the landfill to waste coming from outside the county.