This message is from Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, Inc.  If you do not want to be on this mailing
list please send a reply email with "remove" in the subject window.  Otherwise please forward; those who
wish to be added to the mailing list should send a reply email with "add me" in the subject window.


Landfills in the news and related solid waste policy news

Our last full update was in March. New projects and policies in and around New York State since then are listed below.


We’ve expanded our list of environmental violations and community complaints against Casella Waste Systems, Inc., a Rutland Vermont company with an aggressive acquisition program in New York. Here are some highlights:

Last June, the Vermont Attorney General settled an antitrust suit with Casella, charging that the company’s contracts unfairly penalized commercial customers for switching haulers. The settlement requires Casella to change its contracting practice, allowing customers more meaningful opportunities to consider competitors, and pay the costs of the litigation. Casella must also provide notice to the Attorney General if it proposes to acquire another solid waste hauling company operating in Vermont valued at more than $200,000, or any transfer station or landfill that accepts Vermont solid waste. (Contact: John Brabant, Environmental Engineer, VT Solid Waste Management Program,

Casella’s 2002 Annual Report says it’s planning an expansion of Hakes Construction & Demolition Debris dump in Campbell, NY, serving western New York: “The Company expects to apply for this expansion during the next 18 months and does not expect substantial opposition from the local community.” The DEC recently approved a modification to Hakes’ permit and a variance to change the maximum allowable soil particle size to up to three inches in the lower 18 inches of the compacted clay liner. (ENB 5/22/02)

The New England environmental organization Toxic Action recently listed three of Casella’s subsidiaries among the top ten dischargers of toxic pollutants: New England Organics, the MERC incinerator, and the Pinetree Landfill. See

The DEC has begun reviewing Casella’s permit application for a major expansion of the Clinton Co. Landfill, which Casella operates. County legislators approved the proposal this summer, over the objections of the host community Schuyler Falls.

Casella's Hyland Landfill in Angelica (Allegany Co.), NY, suffered a defeat at the polls earlier this month when local voters expressed their disapproval of an expansion proposal. Voters took advantage of a referendum provision in the landfill's host community agreement that requires a local vote of approval before further expansion of the landfill can take place.

Today of the 850 tons of garbage per day dumped at Hyland, over 630 tons comes from New York City. Casella is seeking to add five million tons of capacity to the landfill, increase the daily disposal rate from 745 to 1000 tons per day, and extend the landfill’s permitted life from 9 years to 24-29 years. The Hyland Landfill is located on a recently renovated rail line connecting Angelica to New York City.

Despite the absence of local approval, the DEC has decided to hold an optional scoping meeting on the proposed Hyland Landfill expansion, on December 10, 2002 at 7:00 p.m. at the American Inn, 128 West Main Street in Angelica. Written comments on the draft scoping document, which determines what the landfill's environmental impact analysis will consider, will be accepted until January 3, 2003. To obtain a copy of the draft scoping document and submit comments, contact Mary E. Hohmann, NYSDEC, 182 East Union, Suite 3, Allegany, New York 14706-1328, (716) 372-6242,

Local flow control laws are authorized in New York, Connecticut and Vermont as a result of the United Haulerscase, which the U.S. Supreme Court let stand in January, 2002.  The ruling, decided by the Second Circuit Court of Appeals, holds that "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 Court made it clear that garbage is not an article of commerce, and local publicmanagement of all waste  services is not prohibited by the U.S. Constitution.  The Court also strongly suggested that incidental discrimination against out-of-area garbage companies is permitted where "a municipality is acting within its traditional purview," to protect "compelling" local safety interests. This ends the strangle-hold of private waste companies on rural communities and cuts the ground from under predatory lawsuits to force communities to host private landfills.  We've posted an analysis of the ruling by the municipal attorney who wrote the brief that persuaded the Court.

In the remand to the district court, United Haulers has stipulated that no interstate discrimination results from the county flow control laws at issue. This approach, it hopes, will expedite another round of appeals that will end up at the U.S. Supreme Court.

The day after the January Supreme Court rejection of United Haulers' appeal, Madison County passed a flow control law forcing all county waste to its landfill, increasing revenue $500,000 annually. (Syracuse  Post-Standard, January 9, 2002). However, after intense pressure applied by the Washington-based National Solid Waste Management Association, Ulster County decided against a resolution that would have given its waste authority total control of refuse in its jurisdiction. Instead, the county will keep solid waste disposal open to so-called competition and use tax dollars to help subsidize their operations. A big win for the larger haulers, a big loss for the small garbage businesses and perhaps the residents.

The flow control approach works best for counties, which can cature a large enough waste stream to make publicly owned waste facilities viable. But New York towns can still keep out private waste facilities the old-fashioned way, by banning them outright. That's what the Town of Eagle did in October, after struggling for years with landfill proposals from Modern Landfill and CID Landfill, now owned and operated by Waste Management. Landfill ban laws were affirmed recently in the Town of Evans (Erie Co.) or are being considered in the Town of Brant (Erie Co.).

With the backing of community groups such as the Organization for Waterfront Neighborhoods (OWN) and Brooklyn-based Organizations United for Trash Reduction and Garbage Equity (OUTRAGE), New York City Mayor Bloomberg is seeking a barge-to-rail system using some of the City’s 11 marine transfer stations. A massive transfer station in Linden, New Jersey, that would take the lion’s share of the City residential garbage by rail to Arizona has been scrapped for political and environmental reasons, owing to increasing emissions from truck transport and suspicion of corruption. This leaves a Hudson Valley transfer station and rail lines to upstate New York communities as attractive opportunities for Bloomberg to resolve his city’s waste problem, a problem that only got worse when the Mayor also scrapped the city’s recycling program this summer. Now the City takes only metal out of its trash, and residents are having to stuff their glass, plastic and paper discards in with their garbage.

Has this helped the City's budget woes? Not according to a lengthy analysis of the garbage crisis by investigative reporter Keith Kloor: "Combined with overall consolidation in the garbage industry, the resulting wave of buyouts [after cleaning the mob out of the trade waste network] led to today's monopolistic system--and skyrocketing costs. Over the past six years, the Sanitation Department's budget has nearly doubled, from $631 million to about $1 billion." (City Limits, Nov. 2002).

In its March 12 issue the New York Times suggested there has been an erosion in "the spirit of recycling." Waste reduction efforts, the Times went on to say, are a matter of "eco-psychology" rather than tangible benefits. We think this theory is a self-fulfilling prophecy, a justification for acquiescence in the Bloomberg waste management policy.

A more realistic explanation for flat growth (or decline) in recycling is the absence of any consumer incentive to recycle.  In Cattaraugus County most residents must pay $1.50 for each 30-gallon bag of garbage they produce, but they're permitted to dispose separated recyclables for free. This rather than "the spirit of recycling" probably accounts for the near-50 percent recycling rate which prevails among our residents. And that's not because it's easier to recycle here: rural people generally have to pack up their garbage in their cars and pickup trucks and cart it to a transfer station. In Cattaraugus County, that's one of nine transfer stations in the county, spread over 1,300 square miles. Surely the economies of scale that urban areas offer would make the logistics of recyling less expensive per capita, not more.

Bloomberg and other metropolitan mayors should also look at restrictions on packaging, not recyling. "Packaging, especially secondary and distribution packaging, represents a large component of the waste stream that is largely preventable," according to a research report commissioned by the City in 2000, "Packaging Restrictions Research." The report urged the city to adopt "advance disposal fees" and packaging regulations to reduce the 35% of the City's waste stream estimated to be packaging. But the Bloomberg administration is looking everywhere but its own backyard. MORE RESOURCES:
"Packaging Restrictions Research”
NYC's "Export" Plan
NYC's current Solid Waste Management Plan

Chautauqua County's Ellery Landfill recceived a Title V operating permit without having to install emission controls, even though it is as large as other landfills that have had to submit to this requirement. It avoided controls by hiring a testing firm associated with the Waste Industry Air Coalition, and ad hoc committee of the National Solid Waste Management Association, which performed a Tier 2 emissions estimation that brought the landfill just under the 50 Mg./yr. emission rate for non-methane organic compounds, the trigger for the control requirement.

Waste Management's Chaffee Landfill was granted a Title V permit by the DEC despite triggering both the size and emission rate thresholds requiring controls. The landfill was subject to the control requirement in 1999, according to the DEC. It then had 30 months to install controls. But now the DEC says when the landfill applied for and obtained a major modification, the time for compliance with the control requirement started over again, from the time construction on the modification began, in mid-2000. Citizens in Chaffee have filed a petition with the EPA (posted on our web site) charging the DEC with allowing the landfill to circumvent the Clean Air Act, among other things.

Al Turi Landfill was also granted a Title V permit by the DEC, and citizens in the host community of Goshen also filed a petition with the EPA (posted on our web site) charging the DEC with allowing the landfill to circumvent the Clean Air Act, for among other things failing to count emissions from a gas-to-energy plant under common control with the landfill, and failing to charge the landfill for liability for the control technology at the plant.

Also in Goshen, the closed Orange County Landfill was granted a Title V permit without requiring modern controls, in consideration of an updated 1988 gas extraction system already installed. It seems the minimal control achieved by this system brought the estimated emission rate below the threshold for requiring modern controls.

Excess permitted landfill capacity in New York continues to hold steady for at least the fourth year in a row at one million tons annually. Over 95 percent of that capacity continues to be located in DEC Regions 8 and 9 (western-central NY), because the five or six largest regional landfills in the state are there.

Three new major regional landfill proposals are still on the burner in New York. The Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority is seeking a permit for a landfill in Ava. Hearings were held over five weeks that ended in September on whether the site is over a primary drinking water source, the effect of a landfill on critical bird habitat, air emissions and whether--since the site is in a wetland--the proposed groundwater supression system will cause leachate to be drawn out of the landfill into the environment. A ruling on these issues is expected sometime next year.

Also expected early next year is a decision on whether the application of Integrated Waste Systems of Buffalo for a regional landfill in Farmersville is complete. Once so determined, the DEC will schedule hearings.

Finally, the last proposal is for a new landfill in Albion (Orleans Co.). The DEC closed hearings this summer on a proposal by Waste Management of New York to excavate an old state Superfund landfill and dump it into a new landfill its wants to construct adjacent to the old one. Along the way, Stop Polluting Orleans County sued the DEC for barring evidence on Waste Management, Inc's poor compliance history, and finding that Waste Management of New York's record was relevant only if incidents in Region 9 show a poor compliance history. That lawsuit was dismissed without prejudice, and SPOC can bring it back once a permit decision is issued. One is expected soon.

The DEC determined that a proposed expansion of Waste Management of New York’s Chaffee Landfill (Town of Sardinia, Erie Co.) may have a significant adverse impact on the environmental and a Draft Environmental Impact Statement must be prepared. The proposed expansion is approximately 77 acres and would extend the life of the landfill 10 to 20 years. In addition, an adjacent 18.8 acre soil borrow area is proposed to support landfill operations. (ENB 5/22/02)

The Ontario County Landfill seeks to add five million cubic yards to its permitted capacity. A public hearing on the proposal was held on November 21, 2002, in the Town of Seneca. The comment period on the Draft EIS closed on December 2, 2002.

The Al Turi Landfill in Goshen, NY, is seeking a renewal of its operating permit, which expires soon. Two intervenor environmental organizations have been accepted as amicus parties, joining with the DEC to oppose the permit renewal because of the owners' involvement in organized crime. The DEC has posted the June 23, 2002 Ruling on Party Status and Issues.  The Ruling is being appealed by both Al Turi and the DEC Staff. The DEC argues that a 1999 expansion permit denial on the same grounds should apply to the permit renewal. It is widely believed that the permit renewal is being sought to buy time to find a buyer who can expand the landfill.

A proposal to expand the Seneca Meadows Landfill, the largest operating landfill in New York, was defeated last night. Hundreds filled the gymnasium at the Seneca Falls Community Center on November 14 to oppose changes to the Town of Seneca Falls local law prohibiting further expansion.  In 2000, the Town revised its zoning ordinance to make further expansion impossible.  The Town Supervisor distributed handouts to attending residents showing that the owner of a home assessed at $30,000 will pay about $12 in taxes in 2003 because of host community payments from the landfill, as opposed to $268.80 without the landfill. Complaints about smells and future health risks from continued landfilling were voiced, and only three residents spoke favorably about the landfill. One board member said budget cutting could allow the town to sustain the loss of landfill revenues if that’s what the people want. (Finger Lakes Times, 11/15/02). Yesterday (Dec. 4), "Any hope they had of getting land re-zoned fizzled  when the town board voted 4-1 to leave intact [the] 2000 local law." (Finger Lakes Times, 12/5/02).

The Danc Rodman Landfill in Jefferson Co., owned by the North Country Development Authority, obtained permission from the DEC to expand the landfill, extending its permitted life an additional 2.7 years. The DEC determined no environmental impact statement was needed because the expansion would have no significant impact on the environment.

The City of Cayuga obtained permission from the DEC to add an eight-acre landfill cell to its landfill and expand the entire landfill vertically about 20 feet in height. The comment period closed last June. (ENB 5/22/02)

Battaglia Demolition obtained permission from the DEC to increase the capacity of an existing construction and demolition debris processing facility located at 1037 - 1055 Seneca Street, west of Peabody Street and north of the NYS Thruway (Rte. 190) in the City of Buffalo, from 3,000 to 3,800 tons per month. The comment period closed last June. (ENB 5/29/02)

Nu-Clean LLC of Orchard Park, NY, formed in 2000, proposes to construct and operate a construction and demolition debris processing facility with a maximum capacity of 100 tons per day. The design capacity is 13,000 tons per year. The proposed project site is located at 1700 Union Road, the site of the former Quality Lumber Company. (ENB 7/17/02)

The DEC is supporting a permit renewal for operation of existing hazardous waste management units at the CECOS facility, at Pine Av. and Packard Rd. in Niagara Falls. Public comments will be accepted up to January 6, 2003.

The DEC is considering a permit application for a 156,000 tons per year (tpy) construction and demolition (C&D) and 49,920 tpy municipal solid waste truck and rail transfer station. The proposed facility will recycle material for reuse or resale, and/or transfer unmarketable materials to a permitted solid waste disposal facility.  The facility will be located at 7707 Henry Blvd. in the Town of Clay. The comment period closed in September.

J A Brundage Plumbing will obtain a permit for a new transfer station for the separation and solidification of food service waste, at at 1401 College Avenue, Niagara Falls (Niagara Co.). Wastewater will be transported by truck to the Niagara Falls Waste Water Treatment Plant (or another facility which could accept this waste stream). Sludge will be further solidified in a basin by the addition of wood chips, sawdust or soil, or combination thereof, and then transported for disposal to an approved landfill.  In addition, the solidification process would accept up to 12,500 tons per year of  non-hazardous, viscous solid waste for solidification prior to transporting to an approved landfill.


Vanchlor Co. Inc. will receive a hazardous waste permit for post-closure care of the closed 2.5 acre Van De Mark Chemical Co. hazardous waste landfill, located between Eighteen Mile Creek and Mill Street (west of Transit Road) in the City of Lockport (Niagara Co.). From 1957 to 1982, Van De Mark Chemical dumped chemical waste by-products from its silicon tetrachloride production in the landfill, which was closed in 1988. Vanchlor will monitor, maintain and inspect the closed hazardous waste landfill and provide adequate financial assurance for these activities during the remainder of the post-closure period. The comment period closed Nov. 4.

Approximately 3,200 cubic yards of soil contaminated with several chemicals including Toluene, Methyl Ethyl Ketone, and Xylene will excavated from the Sovereign Specialty Chemicals Inc. site at 710 Ohio Street, Buffalo. The contaminated soil will be disposed at undisclosed solid waste landfills in the region.

Between two and twenty feet of waste slag and coke fill on 213 acres in addition to large quantities of hazardous waste and petroleum from past disposal practices at the Republic Steel and Donner-Hanna Coke plantsat South Park Ave & Abby Street, Buffalo, will  be disposed at undisclosed solid waste landfills in the region. The materials to be disposed include tar/cyanide wastes, pre-treatment of "blue-stained" ferrous-cyanide contaminated soils (approx. 40,000-75,000 cu. yds.), 20,000 cu. yds. of tar/soils, approx.1000 cy of inorganic contaminated soil, and an undetermined amount of soil/fill containing VOC/SVOCs/Metals. Approx. 250,000 cy of coke will be removed for recycling and/or reuse.

The Town of Cheektowaga will will be liable for the next 30 years for maintainence and testing at the closed Pfohl Brothers Landfill, at an expense of $369,000 in the next five years alone.  The cleanup cost is estimated by the DEC at $25 million to $40 million, and will be paid by more than 30 companies that used the landfill up to 1971. (The Buffalo News, July 17, 2002).

Receiving Royal Assent on June 27, the Province of Ontario's Waste Diversion Act requires all companies that introduce packaging and printed paper into the Ontario consumer marketplace to share in the funding of 50% of Ontario’s municipal waste diversion programs. In 2003, companies can register with Stewardship Ontario to discharge this obligation, or seek approval from Waste Diversion Ontario to implement a program to recover their packaging and printed paper. This should take some pressure off western New York landfills.

Clean Harbors Environmental Services of Glenmont, NY and Braintree, MA, will purchase Safety Kleen (BDT) Inc. of Clarence, NY, a permitted hazardous waste facility that stores and treats waste lithium batteries, waste electrolytes, and packaged waste laboratory chemicals that include reactive and ignitable elements such as sodium, potassium and phosphorous. (ENB 7/17/02)

The City of Hornell obtained DEC permission to add a new 51-acre landspreading site for application of stabilized sludge at the Smith Farm located at Upper Glen Avenue and Dewey Road in the Town of Hornellsville, increasing total acreage for landspreading on Smith’s farm to 185 acres. (ENB 8/7/02)

The Agri-Cycle Composting Facility in the Town of Cambridge (Washington Co.) obtained permission from the DEC to import sewage sludge from the Resource Control Composting, Inc. facility in Springfield, MA. (ENB 7/17/02)

Curiously, Monroe County, as lead agency, has determined that the proposed Subdivision and Sale of 130 acres located adjacent to the Mill Seat Landfill in the Town of Riga will not have a significant adverse environmental impact. Although the intent is to develop the land for industrial use, this determination, made last October, apparently does not consider problems landfills commonly cause to adjacent neighbors such as exposure to hazardous air pollutants. (Contact: Mark Ballerstein, Monroe County Engineering Operations Manager or, Gordon Toleman, Engineering Operations Manager Assistant, City Place, 50 West Main Street, Rochester, NY 14614, phone: (585) 760-7522, 760-7528.)

The Environmental Facilities Corporation's proposal to give Waste Management of New York, LLC, about $40 million in bonds continued to kick around well after our last regular update. Another hearing on the matter was held in August, this time revising the proposal to remove the troubled Chaffee Landfill from the list of beneficiaries. We should be allowed to wonder what difference it makes, as an infusion of that much cash should allow Waste Management to rearrange its budget priorities to bring rogue landfills into compliance. But should the State of New York be helping them do so? (See ENB 8/7/02)

NYSDEC has adopted new emissions guidelines and compliance times to conform to federal regulatory changes (40 CFR 60, Subpart BBBB) under the Clean Air Act for Small Municipal Waste Combustion Units Constructed on or before August 30,1999. A new Subpart 219-8 which sets forth the rules is effective October 18, 2002. Another rule, effective October 30, 2002, adopts a more stringent emission limit for mercury from large municipal waste combustors than is currently contained in federal regulation. Subparts 219-1, 219-2, and 219-7.

On November 10, Cortland County's recycling center in the City of Cortland burned down. City firefighter Gary Coats said, "The smoke blanketed the city. . . . It was a plume of smoke that looked like Hiroshima. It was just a monster." (Syracuse Post-Standard, Nov. 11, 2002). On November 16, half of the more than 5,000 tires piled over the length of two football fields ignited at commercial recycler Tire Solutions International, located in Seneca Falls. The company was operating without a permit when the blaze called in more than 100 firefighters from five counties. (Finger Lakes Times, Nov. 18, 2002; Syracuse Post-Standard, Nov. 17, 2002).

Cattaraugus County is considering a $2.1 million upgrade for its nine transfer stations. This should expand the county's presence in the regional recycling markets. All waste transfer stations in the county are county owned and operated. (Salamanca Press, Aug.23-25, 2002).
--Gary Abraham
Concerned Citizens of Cattaraugus County, Inc.