New York State is instituting new requirements for the S.A. Dunn Landfill in Rensselaer. The state Department of Environmental Conservation says the requirements will reduce the potential for odors and other off-site impacts by going beyond existing voluntary actions on the part of the landfill operator.
The state is requiring the landfill to improve the collection of gas, cover waste daily and build a new perimeter berm before constructing a new waste cell. DEC says the facility must undertake these actions in order to continue operating.
"DEC's top priority is ensuring that residents, as well as students, faculty, and staff at the Rensselaer City School campus, are not exposed to any potential health or safety hazards from the operations at the Dunn facility," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said in a statement Thursday. "We have taken this latest action to hold the landfill operators responsible for implementing additional controls that prevent odors, dust, and other potential impacts from affecting the community, while also giving us new enforcement tools if these requirements are not met."
Area residents have raised health concerns since the landfill, which borders Rensselaer City Schools, started operating in 2015.
“By working together with local residents, school district officials, and members of the Rensselaer Environmental Council, we have brought attention to the negative impacts of the Dunn Landfill," Rensselaer County Legislature Chair Michael Stammel, a Republican, said in a statement Thursday. "While many elected officials were quiet, members of the County Legislature and the County Executive stood up and demanded action. Today we got some action, and we hope to see more in the near future. We still believe that the NYS Department of Health should immediately implement air monitoring at points around the city as they had promised to do earlier this year. When we met with DEC officials a few weeks ago, I insisted that public informational meetings should be held so that the residents of Rensselaer can see and comment on the permit modification plan. I thank DEC for announcing that the meeting will take place."