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Casella, Ontario County hit with $500K fine for landfill violations

  • / Updated:
  • Josh Durso 

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has hit the Ontario County Landfill with an enforcement action.

The action was announced against New England Waste Services of NY, Inc., Casella Waste Services of Ontario, LLC, and Ontario County to address several years of violations at the Ontario County Landfill in the town of Seneca.

As part of a consent order, the facility owner and operators will pay a $500,000 civil penalty for violating the State Environmental Conservation Law and are required to implement comprehensive corrective actions to help prevent future violations at the facility.

“DEC is committed to ensuring landfill operations do not negatively impact the surrounding community,” Commissioner Basil Seggos said. “This enforcement action holds the parties responsible for years of violations and will invest in the community and Seneca Lake by directing a portion of the settlement to the city of Geneva to install a biofiltration system to treat odorous air at the solids handling system. DEC continues to rigorously monitor the Ontario County landfill and hold its owner and operators accountable for any future violations.”

The order covers many environmental violations from 2015 to 2022 that affected air quality, water quality, and solid waste operations, and overall quality of life for the community. Issues at the facility include multiple releases of leachate and contaminated stormwater as result of the landfill’s inadequate leachate storage facilities, failure to install gas collection infrastructure, and 225 documented exceedances of the one-hour ambient air quality standard for hydrogen sulfide (H2S).

The $500,000 penalty in the consent order includes $250,000 payable to the city of Geneva as an Environmental Benefit Project. The city will invest these funds in a capital improvement that includes the installation of a biofiltration system at the Marsh Creek Wastewater Treatment Plant. The remaining half of the penalty includes $220,000 payable to the State and an additional $30,000 that will be suspended pending full compliance with the terms of the order.

The landfill operations violated DEC Division of Materials Management, Division of Air Resources, and Division of Water rules and regulations. The parties are required to complete the following terms, among others, to be brought into full compliance:

  • Repair all existing stormwater retention infrastructure;
  • Establish vegetative cover on berms;
  • Increase monitoring of all the landfill gas collectors;
  • Install a new leachate storage tank; and
  • Regularly inspect and clean up leachate lagoons and the stormwater retention pond.

The DEC says it will continue to provide stringent oversight of the facility to ensure compliance with the terms of the order and ongoing compliance with its solid waste management, air, and water permits.