CANANDAIGUA — The Ontario County Landfill is scheduled to close seven years from now.

The future of solid waste disposal and what will happen to the 386-acre landfill in the town of Seneca are some of the issues that will be explored as part of the county’s new solid waste management strategic plan, which the Board of Supervisors adopted Feb. 18.

The county’s 8-year-old local SWMP will be up for renewal in 2023, and that also will be a focus of the new five-year strategic plan.

Work on the plan began a year ago and was delayed five months by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Four key focus areas of the 2021-25 plan are:

Providing equal and adequate access

• Implement findings from the Department of Sustainability and Solid Waste Management program assessment and consolidation study.

• Provide equal distribution of costs to residents for waste disposal through establishment of user fee-based programs.

• Work with curbside trash collectors to establish adequate access for all county residents.

Funding to advance department goalsThis part of the plan calls for advocating for funding from various regulatory levels, demonstrating the value of the department to the supervisors to foster financial support and partnering with the Office of Economic Development to leverage funding and attract businesses that specialize in recycling and reuse of items and materials to support the goals of the department.

Aligning with the county’s plans• Invest in staying informed and advocate for legislation and policies using staff, county and elected official connections.

• Maintain oversight of compliance with the Operation, Management and Lease Agreement, a 25-year agreement signed in 2003 by the county and Casella Waste Services for operation of the landfill.

• Revise and pass a local law that supports priority county initiatives and programs.

• Develop and execute plans for the future of the landfill after 2028.

• Ensure the SWMP updates are consistent with strategic plan priorities and current legislation.

Customize education, communicationsThis aspect of the plan has eight elements, including the hiring of a full-time educator responsible for development and presentation of educational materials and revamping the structure of the landfill oversight committee to be a county sustainability working group.

Other elements of the 2021-25 plan include:

— Developing standardized branding and educational materials across all municipalities in the county to help educate residents on the cost of waste disposal and recycling and offer alternative programs to modify habits.

— Regularly educating the supervisors on the plans and projects needed to ensure support for new initiatives.

— Using other municipalities’ growing social awareness to educate, influence and inspire them to build up their efforts and facilities.

— Developing standard reporting procedures.

— Developing specific objectives for reuse, recycling and waste reduction opportunities.

The question of where Ontario County’s waste will be taken after the landfill closes — about 10% of the county’s waste goes to the Routes 5&20 facility — will be addressed by the strategic plan over the next five years.

The plan calls for hiring an outside consulting firm to reconcile SWMP goals and timelines and do regular education of the Board of Supervisors of the plans and projects needed to ensure support for new initiatives.

The new plan was promoted by the county Department of Sustainability and Solid Waste Management, in partnership with Causewave Community Partners.

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