DEC/Town Supervisor Correspondence

The following are Gary McNeil's notes from his correspondence with DEC/Town Supervisor on November 17th, 2017

I had some correspondence on Wednesday with the DEC and had a meeting with Supervisor Barker on Thursday. Some info for those interested:

DEC (Department of Environmental Conservation)

  • The Region 8 Director of the DEC Paul D'Amato confirmed that the High Acres site is having issues this year with the odor, and my contact with the DEC was not the first contact they had with the public about the issue.
  • WM has acknowledged there are issues at the site, and they are now required to attend a meeting at Mr. D'Amato's office in early December to describe the additional measures they have currently planned to address the odor, and when those measures will be fully implemented. The DEC staff will suggest further measures if they feel WMs plan is not sufficient.
  • In their experience there is no immediate "switch" that can be flipped to turn the odor off once a landfill starts to have odor issues. They first need to determine the source (gas vs operational), then address the cause.
  • He thinks that residents documenting the date, time, location, duration, and type of smell is helpful.
  • His team will be onsite more frequently to oversee corrective actions. He is open to meeting with me after the WM meeting in early December.

Supervisor Barker:

  • The town met with WM this week to ensure WM was proactively investigating the odor. Multiple town officials were at the meeting, including town counsel. The town plans to hold WM accountable to all clauses in the contract.
  • WM attributed their recent problems (this weeks horrific gas/garbage smells) to piping issues, but no additional details were provided.
  • WM did not tell the town they needed 6 months to fix the problem. They did not give a timeline like they did when Mike and I were there.
  • He is unaware of any active DEC investigation.
  • He has been contacted by FCSD officials as well as Senator Funke's office this week.
  • He is supportive of our efforts to track data, spread the word about how to log complaints with WM, and get concerned residents to the Conservation Board meeting that WM has to attend.
  • The Conservation Board meeting is tentatively scheduled for 1/16 at the Town Hall. They are moving it to room large enough to seat 200 people, give or take. The more people there, the better.
  • This year is 60/40 in terms of Macedon vs. Perinton waste disposal. Next year it will be 70/30, and it will continue to trend in that direction. As that happens, revenue from WM will decrease as a percentage of the Perinton budget, and will eventually be a flat fee.
  • On the other hand, Macedon will see an increase in revenue from their contract with WM. Macedon has approved the landfill hill on their side to reach 200 feet HIGHER than the Perinton side. While that will take many years, it is worth noting that the hill may eventually look awkward or tiered as it moves into the Macedon side.

My Thoughts:

  • There appears to be some coordination, or at least verification, between representatives to make sure they are all aware of the issue and putting pressure on WM to find resolution.
  • The DEC is taking action, but did they formally hold an investigation? Is it closed? Is it open? Do they plan on holding one? Are the findings public? Getting WM to present WM findings on what the odor is isn't enough in my opinion. The DEC should be doing an independent investigation into why the odor is occurring so frequently, and why it is so strong.The public should get to see those results. I will be visiting Avon in early December to ask these types of questions. We also need to know if the DEC is looking at the complaint log and if the WM complaint log is skewed. Does the DEC know the true extent of the problem?
  •  I expressed my concerns on the lack of transparency for the residents of Perinton. We don't know what's causing the issue, how serious it is, if it is feasible to fix, and if the fix will be permanent. This needs to be addressed by someone...whether it's WM information that is verified by the DEC, or the town, or the DEC itself.
  • The Conservation Board members are the ones that will advise Supervisor Barker on how to move forward in dealing with the issue. Showing up at the meeting on 1/16 and laying out our data/concerns will be very important in terms of helping them make their decisions.
  • With Macedon about to get more revenue than they will know what do with, and a less populated area to complain down the road once it turns into a PR problem for them, I think it may make sense to get in front of the Macedon Town Board and let them know what they are getting into. I'm not sure if anyone has reached out to the Macedon Supervisor yet, but if they are made aware now of what we are dealing with, they won't be able to say they had no clue in 10 years once they are dealing with the fallout of adding all the garbage on their side.

It's been a nice break having two days in a row with no odor in Magnolia. Hopefully that continues into the weekend and the holiday. Thanks to everyone who is helping with the fliers. Perinton is an older community and there are a lot of residents not on FB and not aware there is a way for their voice to be heard regarding this matter. I think what we are doing will help tremendously.