Integrated Waste Systems, Inc. told the Farmersville Town Board on July 20, 1999, its dump proposal has changed: IWS has reduced the height of the proposed 3,000 ton-per-day landfill. Instead of a peak elevation of 2,132 feet the latest proposal is 2,100 feet. The lifespan of the landfill is now proposed to be less than 20 years compared to 27 years as first proposed.
Nobody should be fooled by this new tactic. The Town of Angelica approved a small ash landfill six years ago. Shortly thereafter the operator applied for a modification from the DEC to take solid waste, and now a second modification application is pending to expand the landfill. This happened after the Town insisted the operator agree never to take solid waste. (See the full story elsewhere on this site.)
Once a permit is granted, modifications can be had "at the drop of a hat," according to Albany-based Environmental Advocates. Once New York City's garbage starts moving here, there will be an inexhaustible supply, and no incentive to reduce it at the source. This is why scaling back the IWS permit proposal is unimportant.
Moreover, shortening the landfill's life span is hardly a benefit to the Town or the rest of us. This just shortens the end of the term (30 years after closing) during which IWS remains responsible for clean-up costs. After that, it's all ours, folks.
Cattaraugus County today spends tens of thousands each year on clean-up costs for the Olean Airport and Farwell landfills (just downstream above the Ischua Creek from the Farmerville site) and the Five Points Landfill in Mansfield. These old landfills, however, are a fraction of the size proposed for Farmersville, even in its "scaled down" version.
NYS-DEC PERMIT PROCESS
The following stages in the review process are now in the works:
(1) A Technical Application was submitted to DEC by IWS during the week of 7/18/99.
(2) On Aug. 11, 1999, IWS announced a "competed application" was submitted to the DEC. This includes a draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (SEIS). However, the DEC has not accepted the full permit application as "complete" yet. DEC's acceptance will depend on whether IWS has addressed each issue DEC requires. The DEC notified IWS in August, 2002, it would act on whatever the company could get in by December 31, 2002. Soon after that, a public comment period may be opened.
(3) Once DEC Staff accept the SEIS as complete, they will request an Administrative Law Judge (ALJ) be assigned to decide whether a landfill permit should be granted to IWS. So far, this hasn't happened.
(4) To make his decision, the ALJ will hold an Issues Conference, followed by an Adjudicatory Hearing.
(5) NYSDEC Commissioner Erin Crotty has the final word; he may reject, accept, or accept in part the ALJ's Ruling.
For a fuller explanation of the stages in the review process, click here.