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Ontario County tries to manage landfill landslide aftermath

Following a landslide at the Ontario County Landfill last week, county officials and Casella Waste Services have implemented immediate measures to manage the situation.

A berm has been constructed using the displaced cover soil to prevent stormwater from leaving the site, and pumps have been installed to remove any accumulating stormwater at the bottom of the slope.

The landslide involved around 3½ acres of clay-based cover cap sliding from an inactive portion of the 389-acre landfill.

County Administrator Chris DeBolt confirmed that the emergency response, including the construction of the berm and the installation of the pumps, began last Friday in anticipation of weekend rainfall. He told the Finger Lakes Times that the measures appear to have been effective.

Additionally, two vertical wells on the slope, which were damaged by the sliding soil, have been sealed to mitigate the risk of unpleasant odors. Casella Waste Services of Ontario, which operates the landfill under an agreement with the county, assured that the soil movement, occurring during a capping and closure project, did not impact waste materials or adjoining properties.

Carla Jordan, the county’s director of sustainability and solid waste management, along with a regional engineer from the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), monitored the situation.

DeBolt added that soil samples are being taken to understand the cause of the landslide and to develop strategies to prevent future occurrences. The DEC’s Division of Materials Management, informed of the incident, confirmed there was no structural damage to the landfill cap or exposure of garbage.

Casella officials are collaborating with the DEC and the county to investigate the cause and ensure no environmental risk to human health or the environment. This collaborative effort underscores the commitment to maintaining environmental safety standards at the landfill.