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For Release: Friday, June 28, 2019

DEC Announces New Enforcement Action Against Dunn Landfill in Rensselaer County

State Fines Landfill Operators $35,000 and Requires Presence of On-Site Monitor

DEC Continues Rigorous Monitoring of Landfill Operations to Protect Public Health and Environment

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced the state's latest actions against S.A. Dunn & Company, LLC., for violations of the facility's Mined Land Permit that resulted in significant off-site dust impacts to the surrounding community, including the adjacent school. DEC issued an Order on Consent to the landfill operator, including a new, on-site monitor and a $35,000 penalty.

Commissioner Seggos said, "DEC will not tolerate violations of New York's strict environmental laws, which were put in place to protect public health and the environment. We are committed to upholding our responsibility to ensure landfill operations are not negatively impacting the surrounding community, and our message is clear-we continue to rigorously monitor this facility and will continue to hold its operators accountable for any future violations."

This latest legal action against the facility comes in response to an off-site dust event that occurred on April 3, 2019, when DEC staff, responding to residents' complaints, conducted an inspection and observed substantial clouds of airborne dust migrating across Partition Street Extension and onto adjacent properties to the east of the mine site. High winds combined with improperly secured mined sand piles staged on-site resulted in dust adversely impacting the adjacent school and surrounding neighborhoods.

Under terms of the facility's current Mined Land Permit and Dust Control Plan, the facility is required to take specific measures to contain and prevent visible dust from leaving the property, including applying water and hydromulch to excavation areas on wind-sided slopes. DEC's investigation determined the facility failed to adequately address blowing sand from the facility.

Highlights of the Consent Order include:

  • A new, on-site monitor contracted by the state and paid for by the facility;
  • A revised dust control plan that requires the facility operators to mulch and hydro-seed the staged on-site sand piles, which were the primary source of the off-site dust impacts; and
  • Construction of an approved soil berm on the north side of the facility to provide additional buffer to the school property.

In March, DEC directed the Dunn Landfill to take new actions to improve operations and reduce odors at the facility. Comprehensive actions to reduce odors include a new gas collection and cover system requirements and enhanced odor monitoring to reduce impacts to the community. DEC installed four hydrogen sulfide (H2S) monitors at strategic locations to provide enhanced monitoring of odors at the landfill site. The monitors are placed at the perimeter of the landfill property to determine whether and when the landfill is emitting excessive levels of H2S. The devices sample and record H2S data every 10 minutes around the clock, and DEC reviews the resulting data. To date, monitors have recorded low levels of H2S, typical of similar non-urban settings. Visit DEC's website for a report on air monitoring. In addition, six groundwater monitoring wells on site support DEC's C&D landfill monitoring and ensure waste is not moving off the site to neighboring properties.

DEC will continue to monitor landfill operations to ensure the community and the environment are protected.

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