Construction of a new cell and odor control measures ramp up activity at landfill in the town of Seneca

A county committee heard from a landfill engineer Monday on activity at the Ontario County landfill. Casella Waste Systems regional engineer Amy Dill showed recent photos from the landfill in the town of Seneca, explaining ongoing work — some routine, some tied to a landfill expansion project, and some based on recommendations of an odor control report.

Hopewell Town Supervisor Ted Bateman, a member of the Planning and Environmental Committee, said he noticed more truck traffic from the landfill. Dill said that increased traffic is due to all the construction activity. She explained work involving a new cell, the installation of landfill liners and groundwater collection trench, as well as a pump station being built. Protective layers must be installed before the first piece of waste can be put in the cell. The process involves a geotextile protection and drainage stone. A special sheet suppresses groundwater and keeps it from impacting a 2-foot layer of clay.

New gas wells are also being installed at the landfill. One photo shows how a horizontal gas well is being installed in the waste. Casella installs these every 200 feet horizontally, and 30 feet vertically, as they fill in the waste. These wells help collect new gas before the waste reaches an elevation high enough to drill vertical wells.

As construction continues, Casella is also putting in place measures recommended in the odor control report. The report completed this spring by CEC, Civil & Environmental Consultants, Inc. hired by Casella, and SCS Engineers of N.Y., PC, hired by the county, called for a range of actions to attack landfill odor. They include expanding the gas collection system, pumping liquid out of the wells and reducing the amount of sewage sludge. The recommendations also include relocating the working sections of the landfill and seeing that the privately run, gas-to-energy plant that converts landfill gas to electricity becomes more efficient to reduce odor. On trucking of sludge, recommendations include encapsulating the trucks, using alternate routes through less populated areas and testing material for sulfur, which is a major cause of odor.

Shelley Sayward, Casella vice president and assistant general counsel, said after Monday’s meeting that Casella is “holding firm” on limiting sewage sludge intact to 8 percent as recommended.

The committee also heard from Carla Jordan, county director of sustainability and solid-waste management, who talked about increased monitoring and tracking of landfill emissions based on the report. Jordan said the state Department of Environmental Conservation is tracking progress to make sure odor controls are followed.