Why should Dunn landfill be allowed to operate on an expired permit?

To the Editor:
By now, you’ve probably heard about the Dunn construction and demolition landfill in the city of Rensselaer. It’s almost hard to miss it, either in the news, or as you head East on I-90.

It’s the infamous mountain of waste that sits atop the city of Rensselaer, directly next to the Pre-K – 12 public school that houses over 1,100 students, faculty, and staff. The fence of the dump is 200 feet from the school’s baseball field.

The proximity of the dump to the school has caused numerous instances of rotten-egg odors (hydrogen sulfide gas) due to decomposing gypsum drywall as well as blowing dust and debris onto school grounds. On two different occasions in 2019, odors were so bad that they entered the hallways of the school campus and the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation was called to the scene to investigate.

The impacts from the landfill have been ongoing since operations began in 2015. Besides the odors and blowing dust and debris, residents are forced to endure the diesel fumes and noise from truck traffic each weekday as the long-haul tractor trailers roll into the city beginning at 6:30 a.m., right through the heart of the city.

The trucks snarl traffic near Dunkin’ Donuts on Broadway as they arrive in a convoy, often a dozen at a time during morning rush hour traffic.

The dump’s permit expired on July 19, but its gates remain open due to New York State DEC regulations. Since Waste Connections (Dunn’s owner) filed its renewal application in a timely manner, business is allowed to continue as usual while the application is reviewed.

The dump’s continued operation does no justice for the residents of Rensselaer and surrounding communities whose quality of life and health are continually terrorized. If it is illegal to operate a vehicle or a business with an expired license, why should a polluting facility like Dunn be allowed to operate on an expired permit?

It seems like state regulations and laws need to be re-examined, especially to protect residents in an economically disadvantaged community like Rensselaer. Now is the time for our state representatives and the governor to step in and do what is right for the residents of Rensselaer.

We cannot and should not have to deal with the continued operations of the Dunn landfill for another 10 years while Waste Connections makes millions!

Dave Ellis



Environmental Coalition

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