RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Parents and teachers at the Rensselaer School District sought answers about a chemical smell coming from the S.A. Dunn and Co. Landfill at an information session held by the Department of Environmental Conservation.
The information session came as eight local doctors urged Governor Andrew Cuomo and the DEC to shut the landfill down due to possible health concerns.
“It’s really important for us to know what the long-term effects are going to be, but unfortunately, it doesn’t seem like anybody knows,” said Rensselaer School District teacher Michelle Belvedere.
“We’re not looking for them to close it; we know that’s not going to happen. We’re looking to see what we can do with what we have right now,” Belvedere said.
DEC Chief of Staff Sean Mahar said they’ve cited the landfill many times, though the company’s worked with them on those issues.
“We’ve recently sent them a letter that really outlines how we expect them to operate and come into compliance and maintain their compliance with regulations. And if they’re unable to do that, we’re prepared to go to the next step,” Mahar said.
While some want the landfill closed immediately, Assemblyman John McDonald said that’s not possible. Until the landfill’s permit renewal is up, it’s everyone’s job to hold them accountable and to call the DEC when there’s an issue.
“1. Educate yourself on what they should be doing. 2. Let’s make sure they follow through on what they’re supposed to be doing; and 3. Hold them accountable if they’re not,” McDonald said.
In a statement to NEWS10 ABC, S.A. Dunn and Co. said: “Our top priory is to the environment and the health and safety of local residents and the students and staff at the Rensselaer School.”
The landfill’s permit is complete in 2022.