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Landfills in the news and related solid waste policy news

***A public comment period has opened on Waste Management of New York's Chaffee Landfill Title V permit application (Erie Co.). Landfill gas has been the subject of complaints for many years at the landfill and, as the landfill's capacity has grown to 5.9 million tons, emission of pollutants has gotten worse. Waste Management has submitted a Title V application that estimates landfill gases emitted to be just below the threshold that would require installation of a comprehensive gas control system, despite DEC's report to EPA in 1999 that the landfill's emissions were multiples of the limit. Comments must be submitted in writing no later than October 12, 2001. Should public comments be substantial, DEC may hold a public hearing. Should DEC grant a permit, EPA has 45 days to object, in response to a petition by interested parties. For more go to:

***The Chaffee Landfill's effort to pass muster under the landfill gas rule comes on the heels of the Environmental Board's meeting August 20 in Albany to consider putting the rule in its own Part 208. If Chaffee's application is any indication, this administrative change will have no effect on compliance. (See ENB, 8/8/01).

***The Chaffee Landfill is part of an "intermodal transport" scheme using rail to transport garbage to landfills. Waste Management has put together a network of over a hundred landfills linked (or potentially linked) by rail, including Chaffee, High Acres and Chemical Waste Management (Model City, Niagara Co.):

***Waste Management of New York is also making certain upgrades to its construction and demolition processing facility Truxton Street in the Bronx:

***Fresh Kills Landfill in Staten Island has applied for approval for a fully enclosed 2,880 ton-per-day transfer station, to transfer garbage from truck to rail. A new rail spur will connect the facility to the end of the existing Travis branch of the Staten Island Railroad. Comments must be submitted in writing no later than October 12, 2001.  For more go to:
***Staten Island won't get a break from the closing of the world's largest landfill: Interstate Materials Corp.'s 15-acre transfer station station there goes over from clean fill processing to C&D, putrescible waste and dredged sludge material processing. (ENB, 7/11/01).

***IWS of Buffalo submitted a revised permit application to DEC to construct a regional landfill in the Town of Farmersville last month, but DEC requested (and got) a waiver from the usual 30-day period within which action on the application must be taken. The clock now ticks while the Town Board remains hostage to a lawsuit threat, made last year when they tried to strengthen the local landfill law and then rescinded most of the changes. The County Legislature, long opposed to dump proposal, is powerless to stop it so long as the town refuses to step aside. CCCC wants the Town to rescind its landfill law.

***Proposed Guidance for Transfer of Permits and Pending Applications has been made available by DEC. The guidance includes the statement that such transfers must consider whether the transferee is "fit," but the actual guidance provides no specifics. Will the DEC's 1993 Environmental Guidance Memorandum apply to permit transfers? The new proposed guidance is silent on this question. Comments must be submitted in writing no later than Sept. 21, 2001.  For more go to:

***Metro Enviro Transfer, LLC, a transfer station in Croton, NY, recently purchased by major player Allied Waste Industries, has been indicted by the U.S. Attorney's office for a fraud scheme to overbill customers all over the state. The scheme allegedly involved Seneca Meadows Landfill and former officials of Waste Management of New York, as well as former Metro Enviro owner James Hickey, identified by federal agents as an associate of the Genovese crime family, according to the FBI Complaint filed earlier this summer with Magistrate Judge George A. Yanthis. See Rob. Worth, "Where the Mob Ruled, Big Business Steps In," NYTimes (8/12/01).

***Larry Lackey, V.P. for Permits, Compliance and Engineering at Casella Waste Systems, was found to be falsifying documents this summer by New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services, which made him ineligible to certify the company's various waste disposal facilities in that state. Courier (Biddeford/Saco, Maine, 7/19/01).

***In July, Waste Management's transfer station in the Bronx was busted for illegally dumping medical waste at the Shade Landfill in Central City, Somerset County, PA. The action was one of PA's periodic "Operation Clean Sweep" inspections of garbage haulers. Waste Management had the most violations of twelve companies, with 339 environmental and 554 safety violations, state officials said. Waste News (7/18/01).

***Waste Management subsidiary Chemical Waste Management is under investigation by the EPA for burying materials thought to contain PCBs in its landfill in the Town of Porter," according to the Buffalo News (7/31/01).

***The principals of Consolidated Recycling, Inc., were indicated by the U.S. Attorney last month for abandoning hazardous materials in Massachusetts and New Hampshire they got from, among other places, the U.S. Army at Fort Drum, NY. "The waste included mercury powder and ballasts contaminated with cancer-causing PCBs," according to Foster's Daily Democrat (NH, 8/16/01).

*** "But long-time residents say that's not what they bargained for." Revenue from the Yaphank Landfill in Brookhaven on Long Island's South Shore allows local homeowners to pay the lowest per capita property taxes on the Island.  But those same homeowners for ten years have lost the use of their water wells, which are contaminated by the landfill, according to NY Newsday (8/10/01).

***The federal Court of Appeals ruled last month that flow control ordinances in Oneida and Herkimer counties do not violate the U.S. Constitution because "a municipal  flow control  law does not discriminate against out-of-state interests in violation of the Commerce Clause when it directs all  waste  to publicly owned facilities." The counties had the benefit of a solid waste public management authority, which owned waste facilities to which the local laws directed all in-county waste. The court also strongly suggested that incidental discrimination against out-of-area haulers is outweighed where "a municipality is acting within its traditional purview," to protect "compelling" local safety interests.  United Haulers Assn., Inc. (2nd Cir., July 27, 2001).

--Gary Abraham, Vice President
Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, Inc.