Landfill sparks debate in Perinton

January 17, 2018 06:14 AM

Neighbors demanded tough action Tuesday night to deal with foul smells coming from the High Acres Landfill.

Hundreds came together at the Perinton Community Center in Fairport to say that a new surge in odors from the landfill is more than they can stand, and to hold the landfill's operators feet to the fire.

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The latest wave of complaints about smells from the landfill started in the summer and has spiked in recent weeks. The landfill's operators say they're already working to fix the problem, but homeowners say it's a problem that never seems to get fixed for good.

"Don't back down," said Gary McNeil of Fairport. "Don't let them scare you. And take back your town thank you applause"

Loud criticism of landfill operator Waste Management brought loud applause from a packed house before the Perinton Town Conservation Board. Homeowners complained of a "stink zone" with a five-mile radius affecting thousands of homes around the High Acres Landfill.
"There are hours when it's really tough to even go outside," said neighbor Dave Gross.
Gross and his mother lived in their home for more than 35 years. He said their family is fine indoors but outdoors the smell from the landfill has gotten dramatically worse recently.
 "It's just like a bad stench, almost rotten eggs sometimes and it can just be really bad," Gross said.
"Two of the neighbors have actually sold their house," Helen Gross said. "They can't live with it. So that's bad."
"Make a stink," Bill Lyons of Fairport said. "We're getting stink. Make a stink."

On Tuesday night, Waste Management its consultants said the problem was that new approaches to capturing and burning smelly waste gases from the landfill haven't worked well. They also said last summer's heavy rains clogged up the gas handling system and speeded up the rotting of the garbage. Waste Management said that created more gas than usual. The company hopes to resolve the issue by installing up to 20,000 feet of new piping.

"We know that the odors are unacceptable," Steve Poggi of Waste Management said. "They are unacceptable to the community coming to town leaders and to us as well. So, we are putting things in place to take care of this."   

"Our goal is simply to return the facility to the good neighbor status the community has known for many years," said Jeff Richardson of Waste Management.

On Tuesday night, critics said they've heard it before in previous stench outbreaks. They also accused Waste Management of causing ground vibrations that shake up area homes, and promised to keep up pressure to demand real reforms at the landfill.

One sore spot numerous homeowners brought up was the import of trash from New York City to the landfill. Some of them want the town and the state to pressure Waste Management by threatening its license to operate.

The company is promising to have its new fixes on the landfill finished by the end of January. 


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