Residents will receive a survey this year about reducing waste

With 11 years to go before the contract expires for the Ontario County landfill, there is no time to waste in reducing waste.

The current county Board of Supervisors has the goal of closing the landfill beginning in 2028, when the county contract expires with landfill manager Casella Waste Systems Inc. Canadice Town Supervisor Kris Singer, who now heads the committee overseeing the landfill, said there’s no guarantee that future boards of supervisors will feel the same way. But for now — working through a long-range Solid Waste Management Plan — the goal is to close the site, she said.

The county’s Solid Waste Management Plan calls for significantly reducing waste in the county — by at least 60 percent within the next 10 years. As part of that effort, citizens will be asked what are the most convenient, realistic methods to reach this goal.

The Planning and Environmental Quality Committee, which Singer heads and is overseeing landfill and other matters, is expected to review a rough draft of the survey at its next meeting, Feb. 27. The survey is due to go out this spring or summer. The results will guide the county in making decisions about the most effective way to reduce, reuse and recycle materials.

Singer said a big piece of the project will be handling organic waste — such as certain waste coming from farms and food waste, especially from places generating lots of food waste such as schools, hospitals and other institutions.

While officials work on the waste-reduction goal and getting the community involved, Casella is busy at the landfill. Work is progressing on the expansion that was approved by the state and county taking place within the landfill border on the 389-acre property in the Town of Seneca.

In an update last week, Casella reported work continues to expand gas collection facilities in efforts to reduce odor. Thirty-one new gas wells, along with 13 existing ones, were tied to a new header system on the property. The property houses the landfill and a state-of-the-art recycling facility where some 260 tons of recyclable products are processed five times each day. This latest development completes a major infrastructure project, though “we are already making plans for an additional, smaller installation sometime in the May-June time frame,” according to Casella.

Singer said residents have complained about odors at certain times due to the construction. Casella is working to complete the expanded gas collection project before spring, she said, when the weather warms up and odors can be more of a problem.

On the landfill property, a gas-to-electricity plant run by an outside company converts the landfill gas to electricity. The plant produces enough electricity to supply between 1,500 and 2,000 homes, or about the number of homes you'd find in the village of Shortsville — though the electricity goes into the grid to be shared over a much wider area, according to Casella managers.

In other developments, a new section of landfill located on the west side of the property is nearly complete and state-approved to begin taking waste. That should happen within the next month. Plans are also nearly complete for the next section, which will be constructed this summer.

Singer said people can expect to see lots of construction equipment at work at the landfill over the coming weeks. Passing the landfill on County Road 5, you may see a contractor installing an upgraded waterline along the road. Casella reports the waterline is being relocated to make room for future landfill sections and will replace the current, very old line that services many in the town of Seneca.

“There should be little to no interruption in service,” according to Casella. The landfill manager added that in March and April, it will also be relocating some power and phone lines that now run through the facility. These will also be installed along County Route 5.

The landfill can take up to 900,000 tons of trash per year, or average 2,999 tons per day, according to its permit. The expansion taking place now does not permit Casella to take more trash, but enables the landfill to take trash to its permit capacity through the end of the contract in 2028. Even if the landfill closes, the contract requires monitoring and maintenance of the landfill for 30 years after it shuts down.

 

If you go

WHAT Ontario County Planning and Environmental Quality Committee

WHEN Monday, Feb. 27, 1:30-2:30 p.m.

WHERE Room 200, Ontario County Municipal Building, 20 Ontario St., Canandaigua

DETAILS Ontario County committee to update work on opening of new section at Ontario County landfill and other projects