Parents receive letter from Dunn Landfill ahead of public meeting with health officials

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RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — People in the Rensselaer School District got a letter from the Dunn Landfill this week amid ongoing concerns about the landfill’s potential impacts to the nearby school. This comes ahead of Thursday’s public session with health officials at the Junior/Senior High School.

“We’re looking for help from any organization that will help us to make sure that our students, staff,  and community are safe,” said Rensselaer Superintendent Joseph Kardash.

He hopes an informational session with the Department of Health and the Department of Environmental Conservation at the school Thursday will give the public a chance to air their concerns and the school to ask for increased testing.

“We have concerns for the health of everybody involved, and it’s very difficult to measure without a monitoring device,” said Kardash.

The DEC has monitors outside the school for hydrogen sulfide and a particulate tester on the roof. They’ve detected low readings.

“People vary in how they react to this hydrogen sulfide and the other things that are in the air, so monitor readings are not the answer,” said Bob Welton.

Welton was one of many neighbors who received a letter this week from the landfill saying they wanted to reassure the public after “a lot of attention recently” that “our facility does not impact the health of our neighbors” and that they’ve made significant investments in technology to minimize orders.

Dunn Landfill did not respond to NEWS10 ABC’s request for comment by news time.

Welton said the existing monitoring doesn’t measure the impact of all the trucks going to and from the landfill.

“The diesel, all the noise, all the vibration…it’s just not a great situation,” he said.

Both he and Superintendent Kardash would like to see monitors inside the school, especially after an event in October.

“We could smell it in the school. It was distracting and unpleasant and we really want to know, is that a quality-of-life thing, a distraction thing, or is it really a health thing?” he asked.

Kardash said there have been no significant complaints from the nurse’s office and no increase in overall respiratory issues. In the letter, the landfill touts their economic impact, including $4.5 million to the City of Rensselaer over the past four years, and $125,000 a year to the school district.

“We would give up the money if it meant an end to this headache,” said Kardash.

The meeting is from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday in the school cafeteria. It is open to the public.

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