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DEC says it’s keeping an eye on High Acres Landfill in Macedon/Perinton

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Days after the state Department of Environmental Conservation slapped the Ontario County Landfill and its operators with a hefty fine officials say they are keeping close tabs on High Acres.

The High Acres Landfill in the towns of Macedon and Perinton is operated by Waste Management.

DEC officials say their top priority is ensuring that residents are not exposed to any potential site-related health or safety hazards.

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This past spring, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) partnered with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to perform real-time air quality monitoring using a Geospatial Monitoring for Air Pollution (GMAP) specialized vehicle. GMAP is a screening tool to isolate and attribute emissions to specific sources. Methane, the most abundant component of landfill gas, was the only compound detected above the reporting limit at the landfill and in nearby neighborhoods. No health or safety concerns were identified in relation to these results. The level detected is unavoidable and expected at all landfills.

Here’s what the DEC says will continue happening:

Continuous ambient air monitoring for hydrogen sulfide (H2S)

H2S monitoring is currently underway at all of the installed ambient air monitoring stations, including the Dudley/Northside school campus and monitoring points in all four directions surrounding the landfill. Since monitoring began in 2018, H2S readings remain below the State’s Ambient Air Quality Standard which are protective of public health and the environment.

Quarterly methane monitoring

Surface scans on the landfill take place four times a year for methane. DEC requires corrective measures when methane is found at a concentration that is less than half of what federal regulations require.

Geomembrane cover

DEC authorized WM to install an exposed geomembrane cover over portions of Cell 12 to further minimize odor. This geomembrane was installed under DEC oversight as intermediate cover, including 8.4 acres in 2021 and 3.3 acres earlier in 2022. Installation of 20 acres of geomembrane cover over the northern portions of Cells 11 and 12 began late October and is currently ongoing.

Diversion of rail waste

Through a voluntary agreement with DEC, WM continued diverting a substantial amount of rail waste away from High Acres to out-of-state landfills during 2020 and 2021. WM and the town of Perinton negotiated to further lower the amount of rail waste as part of the Host Community Agreement, which took effect on Dec. 28, 2021.

DEC encourages the community to regularly check the WM Operational Updates and Town of Perinton websites for any updates on facility operations that could be creating off-site impacts.