COLONIE— Town residents met last week for a public hearing regarding one of the town’s latest controversial topics: the expansion of the Colonie Landfill.
Citizens came together at Shaker High School on Tuesday, Sept. 20 to testify in front of the state Department of Conservation to figure out if going forward with an expansion of the landfill is in the town’s best interest.
Right now, the town is seeking permits from the DEC to expand and develop 132 acres within the 212-acre landfill due to the fact that the current area of the landfill, Cell 6, will be filled by 2018. According to landfill expansion proposal, the expansion, which would be for Cell 7, would add about 87 feet of trash and allow the landfill to keep functioning for many more years, thus allowing Colonie to avoid the issue of finding a new place to put trash.
Waste Connections, a California based company that has run the landfill since 2011, expanded Cell 6 when it took over four years ago.
According to documents, the expansion will not have negative impacts on the landfill, and will not change anything about its hours or how the public can utilize the landfill. Rather, the documents claim that the expansion will make trash disposal at the landfill more efficient.
“It’s important to note that this application is not seeking to change the daily operations at the landfill. Our operations will remain business as usual, except that the facility will remain open for an additional 20 years. In particular, there are no planned changes to the daily or annual accepted tonnage limits at the site. This development does not involve any land that is currently not sited to be part of the landfill and Waste Connections is not using any additional land for the changes to Area 7,” the documents read.
However, at the public hearing, residents seemed to express mixed feelings about the expansion. Some speakers were wary about further development of the site, as many residents have been recently regarding the town’s overall rapid development.
“We do not feel this is a proper environmental setting for a regional hazardous waste facility run by a multi-billion dollar corporation,” said George Harris of anti-expansion group Citizens Concerned About Landfill Expansion. “In a perfect world, I believe it would be closed under the current closure plan and I think what would most appropriately happen is local communities would have transfer stations and we would send it out to the central part of the state.”
Town officials have made their support of expansion clear.
“It is a regional resource that provides environmentally sound and cost-effective service for the community,” Matthew McGarry, public works engineer for the Town of Colonie, said at the hearing.
More information about the possible expansion can be found at www.townofcolonielandfill.com. The public comment period will close on Nov. 1, 2016.