Residents demand action on Ontario County landfill

People packed a conference room at the Ontario County municipal building Monday to confront county officials about landfill odor. Stench from the landfill in the town of Seneca — raising havoc for miles from the site through neighboring communities — is raising new health concerns, as well. Complaints aired at Monday’s meeting of the Planning and Environmental Quality Committee led some to call for a public health study.

Mark Clinker, operations manager for Casella Waste Systems Inc. that operates the landfill, led off the meeting updating efforts to quell concerns. Growing landfill odor is blamed partly on a delay in the state Department of Environmental Conservation signing off on final construction of a new cell, or section. Clinker said the DEC is expected to sign off on it this week.

Clinker said before the end of January it is expected Casella will be better able to seal odor-causing gases. He mentioned work now involving tuning and adjusting gas lines, recovery settings, balancing oxygen and odor control measures. Last Friday, Casella in a public notice stated that a new vapor system along the north and east, similar to one used around the landfill’s lagoons, is in action. Casella consulted with a national expert for the control, said Clinker, describing the product as biodegradable, non-hazardous and a vapor technology that can work in freezing temperatures.

Seneca Town Supervisor Andrew Wickham, a committee member, asked, “Why the holdup?′

The committee has been hearing about the delay and expected completion for awhile now, and Wickham asked how this time is different. “We are still suffering because of it,” Wickham said. “Seems like we’re on a runaway train.”

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