Chemung Landfill, Est. 1973

When operations began in December of 1973, the 139-acre Chemung Landfill located in the Revolutionary War Historic Corridor on County Route 60 was given a 20-year life expectancy. In 1979, an explosion at the landfill's milling station put that facility out of operation for 3 years. During those three years, unmilled wastes were disposed of at the landfill, significantly shortening the original 20-year site life. In July, 1984, Chemung County Solid Waste Disposal District recognized the limited life of the existing landfill, got Clark Engineers to screen and evaluate potential new landfill sites in Chemung County, and after evaluating 48 potential sites, this study indicated the most feasible site was the land immediately adjacent to the existing operation in Chemung. Thirty two years and 86-odd acres later, Chemung Town Law prohibits the Landfill from expanding without Town Board approval.

The Town of Chemung spent $13,000 in January, 2005 for a 'Landfill Analysis' performed by Environmental Solutions, a company headed by John Battaglia, who interestingly enough is an old partner of Casella when they tried to force a landfill on the Town of Root, NY. We need to know... 'Who recommended John Battaglia to Mr. Richter?' 'What did this analysis consist of?' and 'Exactly what was analyzed...what did we get for our money?' Where are the documents that explain the data? We have repeately asked these questions of Mr. Richter, but no real answers have been forthcoming.

When a town resident asked Mr. Richter, our Town Supervisor, to explain why he was going around with Deputy County Executive Mike Krusen approaching landowners around the Landfill about selling their property so that the Landfill could expand--even though we have an explicit Town law (Local Law No. 1 of 1998) preventing the Landfill from altering or expanding without approval of the Town Board--Mr. Richter stated that local ordinances are often pre-empted by County Law and that 'we cannot enact laws that prevent the County from doing their duties.' I don't believe that expanding the Chemung Landfill (which has already lived over a decade beyond its life expectancy) and putting human and environmental health and safety at risk is the County's duty. And every Town Board member's duty should be clear: to protect our Town and its citizens by doing the job they were elected to do. The possibility of the Landfill being expanded should be discussed amongst the Board members during public meetings, so that the citizens are assured that Board member's decisions are made in earnest and our trust and faith in the Board to safeguard the town of Chemung is not in vain. Furthermore, New Hampshire Supreme Court Judge Jean Burling rejected the argument that state waste management laws preempt local laws to control landfills, and ruled in April of 2003 that 'No one town should be burdened by the uncontrolled growth of a landfill.'

A U. S. Supreme Court ruling filed in January 2002 with the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals said that 'Garbage is not an article of commerce.' It is universally recognized that landfills pollute the environment. Municipalities who contract with polluters are responsible for 100% of the cost of remediating the polluted site. The Town of Chemung would be on the hook, for remediation, too. That's because the town would also be a contractor by entering into a privatization agreement as host community with the County. Under Superfund Law, contractors with dumps are fully liable for the cost of future cleanup. All landfills will have to be 'cleaned up' in the future-they do not have an infinite site life. The cleanup cost is in addition to any environmental accidents or spills or other contamination that might occur, as well as the possible ensuing lawsuits that property owners may bring in response to harm done to them or their property. Town Board member Dave Mazzarese has been the only voice of reason on Chemung's Town Board with respect to the possibility of negative impacts regarding the Chemung Landfill's impending privatization and possible expansion. He is the only Board member who broaches the subject, constantly admonishing the Board to take a proactive, rather than a reactive stance on this issue.

We keep giving thousands of dollars of our hard-earned money to Southern Tier Economic Growth (STEG) so that they will entice businesses and development to come to the Town of Chemung. The expansion of the landfill is entirely at odds with that goal. The Governor's own Office of Regulation Reform's website advises in the 'Light Industrial Profile' that 'Location of landfills...either adjacent to or in close proximity to the site, should be avoided.'

Flushing, working with the City's Economic Development Corporation on development and they have been advised and have decided that bringing in more waste is inconsistent with that plan.

Toxic Chemical Found in Water - Alert!!

Casella held a public meeting and announced the presence of a chemical in the testing well at the landfill that was in exceedance of DEC standards...