Hold the Phone - NYSDEC Announces Complaint Solution

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) has released its latest Odor Abatement Update for April 2018, outlining the recent actions to address odors at the High Acres Landfill. In this distribution, the NYSDEC provides an update on the status of Waste Management (WM) compliance with the Notice of Violation, and provides next step actions planned by WM.

The NYSDEC has also informed the community that it has established a “more formal and comprehensive complaint response process” in order to address odor concerns of residents living near the High Acres Landfill. Their new solution: a telephone hotline. This solution comes nearly six months after FAFE debuted its own community-developed app.

The NYSDEC assures this new complaint system will allow NYSDEC to better respond directly to complaints, evaluate the situation, and speak directly to residents. At this time, it has not been made clear how this hotline serves as an improvement over the FAFE app email reports. FAFE and the community have expressed concerns that this solution does not provide accountability or a paper trail for their complaints.

The new NYSDEC hotline will replace the preexisting WM-manned complaint number. Many residents had believed the previous WM complaint number to be unreliable and unresponsive. The NYSDEC has relayed that, although this hotline is still WM-funded, all calls will be handled by a 3rd-party call center.

A FAFE member relayed her first-hand experience with the hotline after encountering odors in the Macedon area Thursday evening:

Overall, this process is LONG and TEDIOUS. This process is 100% impractical for a mother who is running errands or tending to her children, or someone leaving home for work. 

FAFE believes that all impacted community members should voice their concerns in the method that feels comfortable and appropriate. However, FAFE requests that the community continue to file complaints using the FAFE app, preferably with email. This method guarantees a paper trail for complaints, allows FAFE to collect valuable complaint data, and communicates the issue to all responsible officials.