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Landfills in the news and related solid waste policy news

Stories below on Steuben County's New Bath Landfill, Modern Landfill and
Waste Management's Chaffee Landfill, both in Erie County, and IWS in Farmersville highlight how landfills navigate (and often avoid) the rules for control of landfill gas, which may be the biggest threat to their bottom line–and to market incentives to recyling and other alternatives to disposal.


On September 15, 2003, the DEC notified Integrated Waste Systems that the company’s application for permission to build a new ten-million-ton landfill in Farmersville is complete. Accordingly, the DEC said a public notice will be published in about one month, to schedule an initial public meeting. This begins the public’s review of the landfill proposal.

To anticipate next month
’s notice, we’ve revised our guidance for citizens on how to participate in a DEC permit review process, as well as our answers to frequently asked questions about the Farmersville proposal. If permitted, IWS will have the first multi-million-ton landfill to be sited on a 30 percent slope with zero separation between the surrounding surface ground level and the seasonal high point of the ground water table, as there are active springs all around the proposed landfill site.

The IWS proposal is also subject to New Source Review, but the company seeks to postpone Title V review until operations are underway.


Right after our July issue of CCCC Updates was transmitted, the EPA issued an order to the DEC to reopen and revise the Title V air permit for Waste Management’s Chaffee Landfill in Erie Co. The 90-day period given by the EPA to draft a new permit for public comment expires on September 30, so we should see a notice in the ENB in about a week.

The EPA faulted the permit in three particulars. First, Section 112 of the Clean Air Act imposes Maximum Achievable Control Technology on designated sources, and a final MACT rule was promulgated for landfills last January. 68 FR 2227. However, even before the rule was finalized, landfills undergoing Title V review were required to incorporate the proposed version of the rule into their Title V applications. See 65 FR 66672. Here, neither the landfill nor the DEC identified this requirement, and the EPA says it applies. Title V permittees with three years or more left in the five year term of their permit are subject to reopening for cause if missing applicable requirements are found.

Second, the landfill’s Title V permit contains no calculation of volatile organic compounds (VOC). Here, the EPA provided much needed guidance on translating a calculation for emission of non-methane organic compounds (NMOC) in landfill gas, routinely done by landfills, into an emission rate for VOC. The EPA directed the DEC to calculate VOC emissions as 85% of calculated NMOC, and refused to allow uncollected landfill gas to be discounted as exempt “fugitive emissions.” According to the EPA, a correct calculation makes the Chaffee Landfill a major source for VOC.

Third, the EPA ordered emissions of carbon monoxide (CO) to be calculated on the basis of the maximum gas flow rate to its flare, which produces CO. The maximum gas flow rate is determined by regulation, and in this case makes the landfill major for CO.

These mistakes in the permit will have a direct bearing on a parallel citizen suit being brought against the landfill by three next-door neighbors. They allege, among other things, that the landfill should have calculated these emission rates back in 2000, when commencing construction on a major modification of the landfill. Had it done so, New Source Review and PSD procedures would have resulted in effective controls being installed earlier (Waste Management began to do so only this year), and the neighbors would have stopped getting sick earlier. Emission reduction credits would also have been purchased, at a likely cost of millions.


The previously scheduled hearing on a challenge by Stop Polluting Orleans Co. and the Citizens’ Environmental Coalition to the DEC’s decision to permit Waste Management of New York to build a landfill in Albion has been rescheduled to October 24, in Albany.

For a description of the dispute, please refer to our July 5 CCCC Updates.

As we feared in July, McKean County has decided to contract with Casella Waste Systems to lease the county
s debt-ridden landfill. With this acquisition, Casella achieves a near monopoly over the interstate regions waste stream.

Casella owns the largest waste transfer station in the region, just over the state line in Olean, NY (Cattaraugus Co.). The transfer station is halfway between the McKean County landfill and the Hyland Landfill in Allegany County, NY, owned and operated by Casella. And most of the municipal garbage hauling contracts in the three counties (and neighboring counties) are with Casella subsidiaries. It's already got a lock on McKean County waste, since all waste generated in the county is required by local law to go to the county landfill. Casella will be charging double the regional market rate, which is about $30 per ton.

If that wasn
t bad enough, we have reason to believe Casella stands behind IWS in Farmersville, as the company purchased IWS's only operational landfill outside Buffalo, and IWS's former chief engineer now oversees all of Casellas New York operations. Casella is thus poised to tighten the web, raising prices to its hauling customers as it has done in New England.

The effect is already apparent in Cattaraugus County, which owns and operates eight transfer stations. The proportion of publicly managed waste is steadily declining as Casella haulers capture more and more of the county
s waste stream, diverting it to its Olean transfer station and the Hyland Landfill.


Ogden Martin
s Babylon Resource Recovery Facility waste incinerator (Suffolk Co.) will get 126 tons of Emission Reduction Credits (worth about $75,000 per ton) for “over-controlling nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions” from two incinerator units.  Comments must be submitted no later than Oct. 17,2003, to Roger Evans, DEC Region 1 Headquarters, SUNY at Stony Brook, Building 40, Stony Brook, NY 11790, (631)444-0365,

Steuben County has applied for a Title V air permit for emissions from two closed landfills and one active landfill, the New Bath Landfill. Emissions include CO, NOx, methane, VOC and other hazardous air pollutants. The county also seeks permission to expand the height of the active landfill by 30 feet and add a 31 acre addition. Because the site cannot meet the requirement that five feet must separate the bottom of the landfill liner and seasonal high point of the underlying water table, the county seeks a waiver from that requirement.
The county also seeks a permit to mine soils for landfill cover at its New Bath Landfill. Comments must be submitted no later than Sept. 26, 2003, to Lisa M Porter, NYSDEC Region 8 Headquarters, 6274 East AVON-LIMA Rd., Avon, NY 14414, (585) 226-2466.

Modern Landfill in Lewiston (Niagara Co.) is seeking a Title V air permit for emissions from its landfill, recently expanded from 615,000 tons per year to 815,000 tons per year. The proposed permit will allow Modern to avoid New Source Review and PSD review of the expansion by capping emissions of NOx and VOC below 100 tons per year and 50 tons per year, respectively, and by capping emissions of CO from two flares below 250 tons per year. Comments must be submitted no later than Sept. 26, 2003, to David S Denk, NYSDEC Region 9 Headquarters, 270 Michigan Ave., Buffalo, NY 14203, (716)851-7165,

BFI Waste Systems of North America, a subsidiary of industry giant Allied Waste (second in size to Waste Management, Inc.), seeks permission to build a new landfill along the New York State Thruway and Niagara Falls Boulevard in the City of Niagara Falls (Niagara Co.). The new landfill would be located on 84 acres of a 370 acre site already home to closed or operational solid waste landfill facilities, chemical waste landfill facilities, and a water treatment facility. A scoping session was held on September 9, 2003, but an application is not yet complete.

Karta Corporation is seeking permission to expand its waste transfer station in Peekskill (Westchester Co.) from 700 tons per day to 2,750 tons per day. Comments must be submitted no later than Oct. 17, 2003, to Michael D. Merriman, NYSDEC Region 3 Headquarters, 21 South Putt Corners Rd., New Paltz, NY 12561, (845)256-3054,

Evergreen Recycling
seeks a permit for a new 156,000 ton per year waste transfer station in the Town of Clay (Oswego Co.).

The Durez Corporation is seeking renewal of its permit for a liquid hazardous waste incinerator, located in Niagara Falls (Niagara Co.).

Custom Services of Cortland (Cortland Co.) is seeking a permit to build a new 5,000 ton-per-year waste transfer station. Comments must be submitted no later than Oct. 14, 2003, to Michael K Barylski, NYSDEC Region 7 Cortland SUB-OFFICE, 1285 Fisher Ave., Cortland, NY 13045, (607)753-3095,

--Gary Abraham, CCCC