RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — The Rensselaer Environmental Coalition (REC) has launched a new website to accept public complaints about the Dunn Construction and Demolition Landfill. The coalition says the website will also help the fight against a proposed BioHiTech waste processing facility in the area.
The website’s backers say they want to bring impacted residents together with allies to oppose threats to public health, quality of life, and the environment. The site’s complaint form lets people report odors, noise, and other problems. Additional website content includes background information, images of landfill impacts, news articles, letters to the editor, and links for donating to the effort.
Dunn Landfill opened in 2015 and is the largest construction and demolition debris landfill in the state. Residents of Rensselaer and East Greenbush say that, because of the landfill, they’re plagued with foul hydrogen sulfide odors, dust, diesel exhaust, and loud beeping as long-haul tractor trailer trucks back up.
Earlier in 2020, dangerous “forever chemicals” were detected near the landfill, and experts have link their presence to serious health problems in contaminated areas. The landfill is also directly beside the Rensselaer City School District Campus, with over 1,100 pre-K through 12th grade students and hundreds of staff.
According to the advocates behind the REC, the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) made a major misstep in allowing the industrial operation to take root next to a school in a large population area. They say that if Dunn Landfill’s permit is renewed in 2022, residents will suffer for years.
“It is unconscionable that the DEC allowed this landfill to be located next to a large public school. This is a prime example of environmental injustice. If the City of Rensselaer was a more affluent community, it never would have been approved. It is imperative that the DEC not renew the permit for this landfill, and that is more likely to happen if the community is involved,” said Judith Enck, former EPA Regional Administrator.
REC also wants to block BioHiTech from building a waste processing facility in the Port of Rensselaer, sited on a flood plain of the Hudson River and atop a hazardous waste site. They worry that the company is now proposing an expanded plan on the riverfront following rejection from the DEC.