New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos today announced that at DEC’s direction, SA Dunn & Company is undertaking new actions to improve operations and reduce impacts on the surrounding community. 

These comprehensive actions, including enhanced odor control measures and deployment of DEC monitoring equipment to analyze odors and hydrogen sulfide (H2S), building on the state’s ongoing, rigorous monitoring of this landfill operation to ensure the community is protected. 

In addition, DEC announced that $225,000 resulting from penalties will go to new projects to benefit the Rensselaer community. The $225,000 Environmental Benefit Projects are the result of DEC’s aggressive enforcement of violations at the Dunn facility in 2018.

“We take seriously our responsibility to ensure landfill operations like Dunn are not adversely impacting the surrounding community,” Commissioner Seggos said. “DEC’s rigorous oversight and enforcement of violations at Dunn Landfill resulted in a comprehensive Consent Order requiring this facility to operate safely, legally, and with minimal local impacts. Today, we’re announcing new DEC-directed actions to reduce odors and the start of work on penalty-funded projects to benefit local residents. The $225,000 Environmental Benefit Projects will enhance quality of life for Rensselaer residents and reinforce DEC’s continued commitment to holding this facility accountable for its actions.”

New Gas Collection System to Control Odors

At DEC’s direction, Dunn is installing a gas collection system, which is expected to be operational by May 6, 2019.  This comprehensive system, which is used at many similar landfills across the state, will collect and treat gas through a filtration system to remove odors.  The gas collection system will be installed at various locations throughout the landfill and will operate continuously to provide odor control.   

Daily Cover System to Control Odors and Reduce Litter

To further reduce odors and litter control, DEC has also directed Dunn to increase the frequency it covers waste on site from weekly to daily.  Beginning April 1, 2019, this operational change will decrease the potential for offsite odors from exposed wastes to emanate from the site at the end of each operating day. Additionally, the daily cover system will reduce the potential for litter to leave the site, further reducing impacts to the surrounding community.   

Enhanced Air Monitoring

In April, DEC will deploy four H2S monitors to strategic locations to provide enhanced monitoring of odors at the landfill site. The monitors will be placed at the perimeter of the landfill property to determine whether and when the landfill is emitting excessive levels of hydrogen sulfide. The devices will sample and record hydrogen sulfide data every 10 minutes around the clock, and DEC will regularly review the data and take any necessary actions to address any violations found.  

Environmental Benefit Projects

Significant neighborhood improvements, including a new playground, roadway upgrades, tree plantings, and other infrastructure enhancements, will be constructed in the city of Rensselaer using financial penalties required in DEC’s August 2018 enforcement action.

Last August, DEC required the Order on Consent with SA Dunn & Company, operator of the facility located off Partition Extension in the city of Rensselaer, due to violations of its mining permit and to take necessary actions to fix operational deficiencies that were negatively impacting the surrounding community. The order included a $100,000 penalty, stringent requirements to address dust and other mining violations, and required the company to spend $225,000 on Environmental Benefit Projects (EBPs) for the community.  

In close consultation with this community, DEC selected the following EBPs:

  • $107,000 to construct a new playground at the Rensselaer School District campus at 25 Van Rensselaer Drive, which was requested by the school district;
  • $83,500 to improve the roadway and parking area from Sixth Street to The Hollow, a city-owned nature preserve, and implementing stormwater controls; and,
  • $35,500 to plant trees, install a rain garden, and create new stormwater features along Third and Partition streets to improve the overall aesthetics in the neighborhood, provide visual barriers, and alleviate dust.

DEC continues to rigorously monitor operations and air quality conditions at the facility and in the surrounding community and will strictly oversee the implementation of the corrective actions and modifications identified in its dust control plan. Failure to comply with the terms of the consent order may result in additional fines or penalties and revocation of this facility’s permit.