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EPA says ash landfill cleanup at Greenidge not optional

While it “appreciates” the offer from owners of the Lockwood Hills Ash Landfill to meet Coal Combustion Residual Rule requirements, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said the company really doesn’t have a choice.

The 44.2-acre landfill is on the west side of Route 14, across from the Greenidge Generation power plant. The plant was built in 1937 and used coal to power its electricity-generating turbines until 2011. Coal residue from that process was deposited in the nearby Lockwood Hills Landfill. The plant was closed for several years before new owners reopened it in 2016, using natural gas and biomass to power the generators.

Greenidge officials told the EPA that no coal ash has been deposited in the landfill since October 2015. In a May 2019 letter from company lawyer Danielle Mettler-LaFeir of the Barclay Damon law firm in Rochester to the EPA, she argued that the CCR Rule does not apply to the Lockwood Hills Landfill because no CCR material has been received by that landfill since October 2015. Despite making that assertion, Greenidge officials said that “in order to expedite resolution of the agency’s inquiry, Lockwood will comply with CCR rule requirements applicable to existing landfills” and would let the EPA know when they have completed the CCR requirements.

Seneca Lake Guardian claims the landfill is an immediate threat to the Keuka Outlet and Seneca Lake. They say the landfill already violated standards and has been discharging heavy metals into groundwater.

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