The Farmersville Dump proposal: A Brief Background
The site was chosen 10 years ago by IWS and is located in the Town of Farmersville along State Route 98 on three parcels of land (the former Holmes homestead, the Lefler hunting camp and Burlingame farm) on steep hillsides, adjacent to wetlands and creeks less than a mile south of Harwood Lake and about three miles north of Franklinville. The site is also 4.5 miles from the main branch of the Clarendon-Linden Fault, an earthquake fault capable of a 7-point seismic disturbance on the Richter scale. An earthquake on this fault line was experienced in 1927 in Attica, New York.
Many of Farmersville's 350 voters began asking questions after Ken Lefler purchased the farms located on either side of his camp under the pretense of building a recreation area. He was assisted in this effort by William Heitzenrater who advised him to use the land as a dump. Its use as a dump was kept from those who sold land to Lefler. (For more on this click here.)
The idea has been modified somewhat since that time, but continues to include plans to transport enormous amounts of garbage (but an insignificant amount of recyclables) from in and out of state, primarily from metropolitan areas whose recycling standards do not measure up to those of our own.
In 1991 the Town signed a contract with IWS to accept per-ton royalties promising that any future zoning would not affect that site. The Town strengthened environmental protections in its local landfill law in 2001, but rescinded those changes when IWS threatened to sue the Town.
The DEC gave its Conceptual Approval of the site in 1996. Draft applications for a DEC permit were submitted by IWS in 1999, 2000, and 2001, but the state agency has yet to accept any as complete.
Today IWS continues to fine-tune its application for a permit, and the DEC continues to review the application. The application review could be complete by the end of 2005, following hearings to be scheduled in 2004. The project is opposed by the Farmersville Town Board, the Cattaraugus County Legislature, many local churches and a clear majority of Cattaraugus County's citizens.