Gaining Garbage?

The New York State Department of Conservation invites the public to review and comment on the expansion proposal for the Chautauqua County Landfill in Ellery.

The Chautauqua County Department of Public Facilities is continuing the application process for an expansion of the Ellery landfill, located at 3889 Towerville Road in Ellery.

The landfill expansion is focused on extending the life of the landfill for approximately 20 years – at its current size, the landfill will be at maximum capacity in 2017.

According to the proposal, the project involves a 53-acre lateral expansion of the landfill to the west of the existing landfill. The landfill area, including the perimeter berms, channel and access roads, and stormwater control ponds total roughly 74 acres. The proposed rate of waste acceptance would not be increased from the current permitted rate of 1,883 tons per day.

County Executive Vince Horrigan said that the landfill is important to Chautauqua County.

“The Chautauqua County Landfill is a valuable asset to the county,” Horrigan said. “It is safe, environmentally friendly … well-run and well-managed.”

According to Horrigan, the methane gas produced by the landfill contributed nearly $1 million to the county’s general fund last year.

“I believe that we should definitely approve the expansion. This is what’s needed to keep it economically viable,” Horrigan said. “It is better than having multiple landfills and it keeps costs down for residents – there are low rates for residents to dispose of waste,” Horrigan said.

Horrigan also added that the landfill is nearly break even for waste when considering the funds generated from the methane byproduct.

According to Arden Johnson, town of Ellery supervisor, the town is opposed to the expansion.

“Our main concern is environmental,” Johnson said. “When this next phase goes in, it will be a half-mile to a mile from Ellery center, which is not too far from the watershed.”

Johnson said that despite discussions, Ellery is the only township in the state that does not get “host fees” for the landfill being inside the town.

“It’s not fair to the people to have to have hundreds of acres of landfill in the town … it’s not a pleasant situation,” Johnson said.

Area residents have brought to light other concerns, including odor, noise and litter, in past discussions.

Drafts of the proposal can be viewed locally during normal business hours at the Prendergast Library: 509 Cherry St. in Jamestown, the Bemus Point Library: 13 Main St. in Bemus Point, the Ellery Town Hall: 25 Sunnyside Ave. in Bemus Point and the Chautauqua County Landfill office: 3889 Towerville Road in Ellery.

Digital copies of the draft and application materials are available on compact disc by contacting the Chautauqua County Landfill Office at 985-4785.

Written comments about the application documents must be postmarked by June 24, 2014, and sent to Mark F. Passuite, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, Region 9, Division of Environmental Permits, 270 Michigan Ave., Buffalo, NY 14203.

Emails can be sent to R9DEP@gw.dec.state.ny.us.