CANANDAIGUA — Once work begins on installing new horizontal gas-collection wells at the Ontario County Landfill, bad odors may increase in intensity for a three- to four-week period.
Once the wells are in place and operational, however, the odor issue should be significantly minimized, the Ontario County Board of Supervisors’ Planning & Environmental Quality Committee was told Monday.
Mark Johnson of Casella Waste Systems, operator of the county landfill, used a diagram to explain the horizontal well system.
“We want to put them on the slopes, but we need it to freeze to get equipment on the slope. It’s been too warm and wet to move equipment safely onto the slope,” Johnson said. “Hopefully, I’ll be able to report that the wells are in at your next meeting. We are adding a de-watering system to drain water from the lines. This is the right design for this landfill.”
He added: “I’ve been overseeing these horizontal installations for more than twenty years. Once done, they have a dramatic, significant effect on odor.”
Carla Jordan, the county’s director of Sustainability and Solid Waste Management, said the horizontal wells are designed specifically for two areas of concern where gas pressure from the decaying waste puts stress on the soil cover. She said the system described by Johnson has been approved by the county’s odor consultant and the state Department of Environmental Conservation.
“But it will produce odor when installation happens. We need to communicate that to the public,” Jordan said, adding that her department has a public information plan ready to go. Johnson said if the landfill was dry, the installation would take about two weeks. If the ground freezes, allowing equipment on the slope for the installation, it could take three or four weeks to install.
“The key is air pressure. If it’s low, you get more odor. If it’s higher, you get less odor. Wind is also a factor,” Johnson said.”We hope to have this remedied by spring when people are barbecuing.”
Johnson also introduced the new landfill general manager, Brian Sanders. He comes from another Casella-run landfill in Arbor Hills, Mich.
“Brian has more than 20 years of experience, managing landfills of all sizes from small to large. He’s also has gas-collection experience. I have great confidence in him. I think he’ll get good results from this site,” Johnson said.
In other action, the committee voted 7-0 to send a motion to the full board asking the state Legislature to amend the county’s room-occupancy tax law. The amendments would remove an exemption from the tax for places that rent three or fewer rooms, would expand the ways the tax money can be used, and would make it easier to collect the tax from airbnb operations.