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Waste Management of New York - Hearing Report, August 11, 1997

Hearing Report, August 11, 1997

STATE OF NEW YORK DEPARTMENT OF ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION
50 Wolf Road
Albany, New York 12233-1550

In the Matter

- of the -

Application of WASTE MANAGEMENT OF NEW YORK, INC. for a Part 360 Permit for
the Mohawk Valley Commercial/Industrial and Construction
and Demolition Waste Management Facility,
Frankfort (T), Herkimer County

Application No. 6-2126-00044/00002

HEARING REPORT

- by -

/s/
Helene G. Goldberger
Administrative Law Judge

PROCEEDINGS

Waste Management of New York, Inc. (WMNY) of Fairport, New York, has applied to the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC or Department) for a permit pursuant to Part 360 of Title 6 of the New York Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR) to operate a ten acre commercial/industrial and construction and demolition waste management facility in the Town of Frankfort, Herkimer County, New York. WMNY proposes that this landfill and recycling center be sited adjacent to the closed Mohawk Valley Landfill and Recycling Center. The facility would have a capacity of approximately 12,000 cubic yards and operate for five - seven years.

As part of its Part 360 application, WMNY has also made a variance request from the provisions of Part 360-2.13(d) that requires minimum separation of five feet between the liner system and seasonal high groundwater. In addition, WMNY will require a State Pollutant Discharge Elimination System (SPDES) General Permit for stormwater discharges pursuant to Parts 750-758 of Title 6 of the New York Compilation of Codes, Rules and Regulations (6 NYCRR). The Department may also require WMNY to apply for an air pollution permit pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 201 depending upon the results of an emission inventory to be submitted by WMNY by December 1998.

In its role as lead agency under the State Environmental Quality Review Act, Part 617 of 6 NYCRR, Department Staff conducted a public scoping meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) on April 24, 1997. Staff accepted the DEIS and the application as complete on June 18, 1997.

On the evening of August 7, 1997, I convened a legislative hearing on WMNY's application and the DEIS. The hearing was conducted at the Town of Frankfort Town Hall and was attended by approximately sixty people. Fourteen people delivered oral statements. A notice announcing the hearing was published in DEC's Environmental Notice Bulletin on July 2, 1997 and in the Observer-Dispatch and The Evening Telegram on June 25, 1997.

The legislative hearing was held pursuant to 6 NYCRR 621.7 based upon a determination by DEC's Region 6 staff that the application had generated a significant degree of public interest. The hearing was held to receive oral and written comments on the application and the DEIS which were made available for public review prior to the hearing.

The hearing was held to gather comments for review by DEC Region 6 staff, who will determine whether additional proceedings, including an issues conference pursuant to 6 NYCRR Part 624, are required, or whether a permitting decision can be made based on the application materials and the legislative hearing record. As stated in the hearing notice and at the August 7 session, the staff will continue to receive written comments through August 22, 1997.

Appearing for the applicant was Richard Sturges of WMNY. Appearing for the DEC's Region 6 staff was John Sandwick, an environmental analyst with DEC's Division of Environmental Permits.

SUMMARY OF COMMENTS

Mr. Sandwick, the DEC representative, opened the comment session by providing a general summary of the permitting process. Mr. Sturges, of WMNY, followed with a general description of the project. The remaining speakers were unanimous in their opposition to the permitting of this landfill.

Among the speakers were County Legislator John Brezinski, Town Supervisory Joseph Kinney, Hans Arnold, Executive Director of the Oneida/Herkimer Solid Waste Management Authority (OHSWMA), Town Councilmen John Wallace and Clay Cool and Fran Vitale of Citizens Opposing Pollution (COP). The local government representatives expressed concern regarding the Town's prior adoption of a local ordinance that prohibits the siting of a landfill of this nature in the town. These speakers and others questioned the Department's determination to proceed with review of the application in light of the ordinance.

Speakers also addressed the pending application of the OHSWMA for a regional landfill in the Town of Ava. These individuals stated that the regional landfill siting had taken a long time and involved the careful examination of locations to determine the best site in light of environmental concerns. Based upon the OHSWMA's decision to proceed to site the landfill in Ava, these speakers questioned the need and determination to attempt to site a landfill in Frankfort. Mr. Arnold stated that OHSWMA's consultants, Geraghty and Miller, would be submitting a report with its analysis of WMNY's DEIS by August 22.

Many commenters stated that the Frankfort site was inappropriate because of the proximity to the Mohawk aquifer. County Legislator Brezinski further requested that the aquifer boundaries be delineated. Several speakers mentioned that during the course of an investigation of the existing landfill adjacent to the proposed site, the aquifer's location was discovered. These speakers argued strenuously that in light of this discovery, WMNY's landfill should not be sited in the proposed location.

Other concerns addressed by speakers were related to the volume, origin and nature of the waste stream, traffic, noise, loss of scenic views, impacts to drinking water and air quality.

Many speakers also stated that the area already contained a number of landfills including several listed hazardous waste sites and therefore, it was not equitable to site another landfill in the Town. Most commenters also stated that any monetary benefits provided by WMNY would not offset the environmental effects and loss of property values. The government representatives and other individuals stressed the Town's desire to attract residents, business and tourism and the potential negative effects of the landfill on this goal.

CASE DISPOSITION

This matter was referred to the Office of Hearings and Mediation Services with the understanding that the Administrative Law Judge's role was limited to conducting the hearing and summarizing the public comments for DEC Staff. In light of that, this legislative hearing report along with the written comments received at the public session are hereby transmitted to DEC s Region 6 Staff, who will determine what further proceedings are required. The court reporter will send the complete transcript of the hearing directly to the Region 6 Office. Upon receipt, Region 6 staff will make a copy of the transcript available to the public.

Helene Goldberger
Administrative Law Judge

Albany, New York
August 11, 1997

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