DEC Announces Actions Against Rensselaer Landfill

Aug 31, 2018

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has announced actions including a fine against the operator of a landfill in the City of Rensselaer.

DEC officials announced Wednesday that the department has entered a consent order against SA Dunn & Company, LLC, the operator of the so-called Dunn landfill on Partition Street in Rensselaer.

Located on the former Dunn mine, the facility is used for construction waste.

The operator will pay a $100,000 penalty and undertake a $225,000 Environmental Benefit Project.

DEC Region 4 Director Keith Goertz says the “EBP” is designed to benefit the local community.

“That’s money that’s going to get escrowed and used for benefit projects for both the school that’s located behind the landfill and the residents that live on Partition Street. So there’s a payable penalty, that’s a penalty only, and then there’s the Environmental Benefit Project,” said Goertz.

DEC says the company is being penalized for “ongoing violations of the facility’s mining permit.”

Goertz says action was taken after the DEC Commissioner himself, Basil Seggos, saw clouds of dust from his office across the Hudson River in Albany.

“He can see the Dunn landfill from his window. It’s right across the river. And he saw some dust issues. So we went out there an investigated. So that’s where we found the first violations of their permit,” said Goertz.

DEC says it will continue to monitor air quality surrounding the facility and oversee corrective actions to control dust. The violations are related to trucks hauling sand using unauthorized access points.

Nearby residents have spoken out about noise and truck traffic. Some nearby homes have displayed signs lambasting the truck traffic on Partition Street.

State Senator Neil Breslin says his office has also heard complaints. 

“I’ve had some complaints, not many, about the noise factor in the morning and about the size of the trucks, not about what is in the trucks. But we’ve got to make sure what’s in the trucks is in compliance with the laws of the City of Rensselaer and the contract that they’re under,” said Breslin. “So I’ve seen recent articles and my office is already following up to see the extent of it and we can participate, if at all, to make sure it’s done correctly.”

Earlier this year, the Rensselaer County Legislature voted unanimously to urge DEC to review operations at the site.

County legislature chair Michael Stammel told WAMC in May that neighbors came to the county with concerns.

“The residents weren’t fully understanding that this application to put this dump in place was what it was going to be or was what it turned out to be at the time,” said Stammel.

The language adopted by the county said an average of 78 trucks visit the site every day. The bill also reads that household waste was observed at the site, which is not covered under the operator’s permit, and notes DEC’s confirmation that the facility has accepted household waste from the Town of Colonie.