Rensselaer City School District parents look for answers about Dunn Landfill

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RENSSELAER, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Parents in the Rensselaer City School District hope a Thursday night meeting will answer their questions and ease concerns about the Dunn Landfill’s impact on the surrounding area.

“While we have concerns, I wouldn’t say we have fears,” Todd Rutecki, a parent of students at the school and member of a concerned parent group told News10, “but out of an abundance of caution, we need to separate fact from fiction.”​

The DEC has monitored outside the school for hydrogen sulfide. They’ve detected low readings, but Rutecki says that isn’t enough to ease his and other parents’ worries. At Thursday’s Q and A with the Department of Health and DEC, he wants that brought up.​

“Well, we’d like to know a little bit about the data. Why are they using certain particulate levels versus other particular levels for the particulate monitors? We’d like to know,” Rutecki said, “how accurate are the sulfite monitors?”

He says Dunn has been cooperative, even allowing a group of concerned parents to take a tour of the landfill.

“I’d recommend it to anybody that is interested in understanding what’s going on out there. When you see the physical stuff, that helps inform the questions you might ask,” Rutecki said.

He says the DEC has been helpful too.​

“We’ve been able to communicate with them frequently, transparently. They have been fantastic in terms of responses. We would love some different answers, but at least they’re giving us their honest understanding of what’s going on,” Rutecki told News10.

Rutecki and the Superintendent agree that the school could use monitors on the inside, too, especially after an event in october when an unpleasant smell seeped into the halls.​

The Dunn Landfill sent a letter to nearby residents this week saying their facility doesn’t impact the health of their neighbors. ​

Dunn has not responded to News10’s requests for comment with the following statement:

“We are firmly committed to being as transparent as possible, whether it’s working with the professionals at DEC, local elected leaders, or members of the community. We recently sent a letter to residents updating them on operations and improvements at S.A. Dunn in order to keep lines of communication open. We want to ensure our neighbors are aware of the new environmental technology we recently installed, and the fact we will be investing an additional $350,000 on improvements over the next few months. Our top priory is to the environment and the health and safety of local residents and the students and staff at the Rensselaer School.  Events like tonight’s public forum will go a long way in separating the facts about S.A. Dunn from misinformation.”

The meeting, which is open to the public, is in the Rensselaer City School cafeteria from 5:30 to 7:30 PM.​

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