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RESPONSE: Report about leachate at landfills unnecessarily frightens New Yorkers

Editor’s Note: The following is a response to a story published on and The Water Front Online on March 18 by Peter Mantius. Click here to read it.

The recent story about New York’s landfills published on March 18th, is an unfortunate attempt to frighten New Yorkers. Laying out misleading statistics and making nonsensical comparisons does not lead to a serious discussion of the issues or positive outcomes.

Seneca Meadows and other New York landfills are among the most highly regulated industries in the country. Our essential workers, men and women who live in our communities, work to ensure our facilities meet and exceed every state and federal safety standard. Comparing untreated leachate with drinking water safety standards intentionally misleads the impact on our communities. In short, the story does not follow the science by its faulty comparison. It is like comparing apples to rotten oranges.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

Of course there are undesirable components in leachate. That is why it is thoroughly treated through a waste water treatment plant before it is discharged.  In the case of Seneca Meadows’ leachate, it is treated through the on-site treatment plant at Seneca Meadows prior to a second treatment through the Seneca Falls wastewater treatment plant.

New York’s solid waste industry does not create the waste that its citizens create. Instead, it manages the material in a safe and responsible manner and in return provides jobs and financial resources to their host communities. We always welcome fair and objective examination of our facilities and our industry practices. A good-faith effort in any effort to evaluate data and relevant information, however, should be accurate, especially when published by a reliable news source. That standard was not met in this piece, nor in many others by this reporter.

Example of leachate before and after treatment.