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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, firstname.lastname@example.org
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
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
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
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, email@example.com
LOCAL FLOW CONTROL RECEIVES
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 public
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
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.).
NEW YORK CITY'S GARBAGE
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
, Nov. 2002).
RECYCLING UNDER ATTACK
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
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:
TITLE V PERMITS
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
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
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.
NEW AND EXPANDING LANDFILLS
Excess permitted landfill capacity in New York continues to hold steady for
at least the fourth year in a row at one million tons annuall
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
Oneida-Herkimer Solid Waste Authority is seeking a permit for a landfill in
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.
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
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
, 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
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
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
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
The DEC is supporting a permit
renewal for operation of existing hazardous waste management units at the
, at Pine Av. and Packard Rd. in Niagara Falls. Public
comments will be accepted up to January 6, 2003.
NEW COMMERCIAL TRANSFER
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
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
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 plants
at 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
OTHER SOLID WASTE NEWS
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
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
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
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
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
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,
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."
, 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.
, Aug.23-25, 2002).