At their upcoming monthly meeting on May 6, 2020, the Geneva City Council will review a new proposed resolution asking Ontario County to provide financial reparations for negative impacts from the Ontario County Landfill.
Resolution #22 – 2020: Ontario County Landfill Compensation Resolution is being proposed by Ward 4 City Councilor Ken Camera. The resolution cites several reasons for why the City of Geneva deserves monetary compensation for issues related to “traffic, odor, health and environmental safety by virtue of being an unwilling host for the landfill via it being a municipal member of the County government.”
Landfill Violations Cited In Resolution
The resolution states that in February 2020, the Ontario County legal team told the Board of Supervisors’ Planning and Environmental Quality Committee that Casella Waste Services had “violated its permit and NYS Department of Environmental Conservation law regarding air quality at the landfill citing 41 instances of outdoor air quality exceeding the acceptable standard over a period of less than four months, from late September 2019 to mid-January 2020. The excessive hydrogen sulfide odor – a rotten egg smell – is blamed on landfill construction and installation of a new gas collection system.” (“Attorneys weigh Ontario County landfill contract” – Daily Messenger 2-5-2020)
A second landfill violation is cited in the resolution, this time from April 2020, when “the state Department of Environmental Conservation issued a new notice of violation April 10, citing excessive hydrogen sulfide emissions at the landfill off Routes 5&20 during the first quarter of this year. According to the DEC report, hydrogen sulfide monitoring from Jan. 17 to March 27 cited 48 additional instances of the landfill exceeding the airquality standard of 10 parts per billion. The highest one-hour average was 100 parts per billion Jan. 20.” (“DEC cites OC landfill again for odor” – Finger Lakes Times 4-17-20)
70 Odor Complaints Per Month In Previous Year, Per Tracking Website
The resolution further states that “impacts on property and health and life in the area is tangible and measurable and well documented in the ItStinks.org website that shows over 900 individual odor complaints registered by Ontario County residents and others over the last year.”
Each month’s number of complaints are listed over a 13-month period from March 2019 to April 2020. According to the website, odor complaints spiked in February 2020 (the time frame during which the two violations above were reported), as well as in March and April 2019, when the landfill was making news for odor problems.
“A rogue operation that is in violation of its stated agreements with the County and State of NY and its residents”
During the 2019 City Council Election season, both the Democratic and Republican Party platforms included strongly articulated commitments to push for the closure of both the Ontario County Landfill and Seneca Meadows Landfill. It’s encouraging to see that issues related to the Ontario County Landfill are a priority during the new council’s first year together.
While the resolution doesn’t address the closure of either facility, and while it’s unclear just how much money City Council might request from the county if the resolution is passed, it offers a significant step forward by City Council towards addressing the “concentrated impacts/burden on the quality of life, economic health and beauty/character of the Geneva municipalities downwind of the landfill.”
Contact City Council and let them know what you think about the resolution.
The May 6, 2020 City Council meeting (via videoconference) can be viewed live on Spectrum Cable Channel 1304, or live online on Finger Lakes Television (https://fingerlakestv.org/live/). The meeting begins at 7:00pm.
Residents wishing to comment for City Council meetings, please email City Clerk, Lori Guinan firstname.lastname@example.org with your comments prior to the start of the council meeting. City staff can read your comments or you can share them live during the meeting. If live, a Zoom invitation will be sent.