Perinton board adopts recommendations to subdue landfill stench

Jan 25, 2018

Leaders in the town of Perinton are confident a new set of recommendations will put an end to the horrible stench coming from the High Acres landfill.

Residents have been complaining since September about what they describe as gas and rotten egg odors.

The town board has adopted ten recommendations compiled by the town's conservation board to try to resolve the problem. 

They include suspending all solid waste disposal at the landfill until its operator,Waste Management, can show that the process is up to state standards.

Another part of the plan involves regular monitoring for hydrogen sulfide. "Based on what the residents say, we think this is one of the biggest sources of the odor - that rotten egg smell,” said town supervisor Mike Barker. “Most landfills aren't required to monitor for that, so this will be kind of a first in the state that we're actually asking them to monitor for that."

Gary McNeil lives less than two miles from the landfill. His residents' group, Fresh Air for the East Side, hired its own consultant and wanted to monitor the air quality around the landfill as the town conducts its own tests, but he said the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation rejected that request.

"But they did say they thought community air monitoring should take place sometime in the future, so we were happy that they did come to that conclusion."

McNeil is satisfied with the recommendations approved by the town board and is cautiously optimistic that the DEC will accept them and that Waste Management will comply with them. If that happens, McNeil believes the procedures will have an immediate effect landfill operations and the odor problem. “But the odors and the tremors have to go away for a significant period of time, not just a week or two” he said.

When asked if widespread media coverage of the odor problem has harmed the town's image, supervisor Barker said Perinton is still a hot real estate market with some homes selling above asking price.

"It's kind of early to say if this kind of media storm is going to affect that. I do know that houses that we've looked at in the last six weeks, it seems to be the same trend that houses are still going very fast."

Below is the list of recommendations from the Perinton conservation board which were adopted Wednesday night by the town board.

(1)      Direct Waste Management to retrofit Cell 11, and all existing and future solid waste disposal areas, to conform with 6 NYCRR 363-7.1(3)(1).

(2)      High Acres should operate the collection system so that the hydrogen sulfide concentration is less than 10 ppbv above background at the surface of the landfill for odor control and compliance with the NYSDEC one-hour average concentration of hydrogen sulfide not to exceed 0.01ppmv (10ppbv) under 6 NYCRR 257-10.3.

(3)      Compel monitoring for hydrogen sulfide at any surface scan location where methane readings are at “action-level” conditions of 200 parts per million or greater.

(4)      Request vertical and horizontal gas collection well monitoring (temperature, oxygen/nitrogen, and pressure) be performed weekly instead of monthly.

(5)      Direct that Waste Management be required to provide the Perinton Conservation Board with updates on mitigation progress and monitoring at each Perinton Conservation Board meeting.  This information would be made public.

(6)      Request Waste Management to immediately suspend all municipal solid waste (MSW) disposal in Perinton temporarily until WM can demonstrate to the satisfaction of the NYSDEC that all mitigation and compliance measures have been met and demonstrated effective in odor emissions.

(7)      Have Waste Management support third-party monitoring of local Fairport schools, as directed by the Fairport Superintendent of Schools, for non-methane organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide until such time as the technical data indicate that there is no health concern due to odors from the High Acres landfill.

(8)      Request that the NYSDEC implement flow-induced vibration requirements that minimize flare-induced vibration occurrences, and compel reporting and resident notification.  Require residential/Town notification of gas plant shutdowns exceeding one hour and the potential impacts for odors, vibration, or other potential issues that can immediately impact residents.

(9)      Request that NYSDEC compel on-site backup power (generator) to operate the gas collection and control system such that a power failure or gas plant shutdown will not affect system control (vacuum) requirements, gas/odor collection and control per Title 5 permit that covers the entire facility (both Perinton and Macedon).

(10)   The Town of Perinton establish a question and answer resource on the Town website that provides general information about landfills, odors, and odor control. The PCB recommends that the Town engage a third-party consultant who will work with the PCB’s topic outline. Furthermore, the PCB recommends that the consultant compile answers to submitted questions by residents to the Town website. Additionally, a notification should be sent to the residents informing them that this resource is available.