CANANDAIGUA — Casella Waste Systems has received a new notice of violation for excessive hydrogen sulfide odor at the Ontario County Landfill.
Landfill General Manager Brian Sanders told the Board of Supervisors’ Planning & Environmental Quality Committee of the notice Monday and said the company is working to correct the matter.
The violation was issued Jan. 17. It noted that from Sept. 27, 2019 to Jan. 10, 2020, there were 41 instances of the landfill exceeding ambient air quality standard of 10 parts per billion, a violation of state law and its permit.
“Part of the solution may be the gas collection system we are now putting in. If that doesn’t work, we’ll take other steps,” Sanders said.
The news prompted a strong response from Supervisor Dom Vedora, who represents two wards in the city of Geneva. He is not a committee member but often attends committee meetings.
“My constituents are sick of the smell. It’s been there for years and gotten nothing but promises and excuses. Nothing happens and nothing gets better,” Vedora said.
He claimed that Casella is in violation of its operating contract with the county, suggesting the county consult with its legal counsel and consider taking legal action to enforce the contract.
“It’s not only the odor. It’s also the garbage trucks driving through the city,” Vedora said.
Committee Chairwoman Kristine Singer, R-Canadice, said Casella is taking steps to address the odor situation, including a recent drone flyover that pinpointed areas where methane gas was leaking, and the amount of sewage sludge was reduced.
“We have had some discussions with our legal department and at this time, they don’t feel it’s a violation. I agree it’s annoying, but I did a late-night run by the landfill and can say the east slope area was eye watering,” Singer said. “But I don’t know if that is occurring daily.”
Vedora said the committee should meet with legal counsel on the contract terms.
“The contract says they have to keep it in good working order, but they don’t,” he said. “People in Geneva get it because of the west-to-east wind.”
Singer said the county attorney’s staff is willing to meet. Committee member Mark Venuti, D-town of Geneva, suggested it be done in executive session.
Carla Jordan, the county’s Director of Sustainability and Solid Waste Management, said landfill issues were discussed with the state Department of Environmental Conservation Jan. 14. She said the DEC is willing to see if “Plan A” produces results and if not, a Plan B needs to be developed.
She said that may involve capping or covering certain areas.
Jordan said another meeting is set for April.
At the end of the open meeting, the committee voted 4-0 to go into executive session, citing a need to consult with legal counsel and to discuss a contract with a private firm. No action was taken after the closed-door session.
In other matters, the committee voted to:
• Recommend a no-additional cost extension of a contract with SCS Engineers of Suffern to provide the county with engineering services in connection with the landfill.
• Recommend a new contract with Impact Earth of Rochester for collection and disposal of pumpkins on Nov. 7.
• Recommend approval of a contract with eWaste Plus of Victor to conduct electronic waste collection events in May and October.
• Recommend a contract with MAT-EX, a waste exchange company, to work with local industries and businesses on handling their waste products.