RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Dunn Landfill’s permit expires on Wednesday, but state regulators are allowing it to continue operating while the Department of Environmental Conservation decides whether to renew the permit. Environmental advocates have been calling for the landfill’s closure after PFAS—”forever chemicals”—were detected nearby.

For several years, protestors and residents have been complaining about the sights, smells, and sounds of the Dunn Landfill. Plus, experts link those chemicals to numerous health problems. That’s why over two dozen protesters stood outside on Broadway early Wednesday morning.

“You usually see about a dozen or more coming in all at once backing up traffic through the traffic lights and it’s usually a big convoy coming through. And it’s a sight to see,” said Dave Ellis, chair of the Rensselaer Environmental Coalition. “You shouldn’t have waste going next to a school, in the middle of a community. I mean, they should really look into rural areas where’s nobody really living.”

On Wednesday, the convoy did roll through town, but not until after NEWS10 cameras had cleared out.

The landfill, which accepts waste from seven states, came under fire from the public due to operational impacts including hydrogen sulfide odors and truck traffic. Several violations have also been observed at the location, including unacceptable waste, unpermitted runoff, and issues with cell construction. Complaints from residents of Rensselaer and East Greenbush have led to numerous resolutions from local and county officials calling on the closure of the landfill and remediation of ongoing issues associated with the facility.

The landfill’s application is being treated as a new one, which means it must undergo a more thorough review process. About the permit process, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) said:

“The subjects all applications for environmental permits to a transparent and rigorous review process that encourages public input at every step. DEC carefully reviews all applicable federal and state standards to ensure the agency’s decisionmaking is protective of public health and the environment and upholds environmental justice and fairness, including standards related to the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).

On Jan. 14, 2022, DEC received applications to renew and modify the Part 360 Solid Waste permit and Mined Land Reclamation permit for the S.A. Dunn Mine and C&D facility. Upon review of these materials DEC determined the applications were incomplete and on Jan. 28 issued a Notice of Incomplete Application (NOIA) to the facility. The facility resubmitted materials on March 16, and on March 30, DEC issued a second Notice of Incomplete Application to S.A. Dunn.  

DEC is requiring S.A. Dunn to supplement the permit application to address the requirements of the CLCPA and additional deficiencies listed in the March 30 NOIA. DEC will continue to provide strict oversight of operations at the facility, including regular inspections, to ensure public health and the environment are protected and we remain committed to working with the community to address their concerns.”