PERINTON, N.Y. (WROC) — The Town of Perinton reached a new agreement on maintaining garbage and odors at the High Acres Landfill. The town has been working to maintain these landfill odors for decades. 

“As a matter of fact, the landfill has been operating nearly 50 years in the town,” said Ciaran Hanna, town supervisor,” town supervisor Ciaran Hanna said.

A draft-plan was proposed back in the Spring, comprised of eight detailed bullet-points.

Hanna says every five years, the town renews a benefit agreement with Waste Management. In return they receive monetary benefits, and special recycling services for residents.

But the new agreement passed in December is different than any other, he says.

“This is far more comprehensive than anything we’ve ever had before,” Hanna said.

The new agreement spells out ramifications and repercussions for Waste Management, when it comes to handling problems that arise with residents. 

For example, the plan says Waste Management, “Must perform stringent surface scanning over the landfill, monitoring any fugitive gas emissions.’

And in partnership with the DEC, they’ll also have to respond to a 24/7 hotline, where residents can report odors as they occur.

The Town established four priorities for the HCA: enhanced accountability, added protections, increased community value, and a renewed focus on environmental sustainability.

The full plan can be found here.

According to some residents from the organization Fresh Air For the Eastside, the hotline is already bringing in up to a hundred complaints in a day.

They organization says the town and DEC are denying some complaints to be from the landfill.

Hanna’s response: the hotline also prompts third party odor investigations. Not every response is going to involve the town or DEC.

At the end of the day, Hanna says he wants residents to give it some time. 

He says the new agreement has been a long-time coming, and feels as though this is a turning point for the town.

“We worked really, really hard on this, in the past it really didn’t have a whole lot to it,” said Hanna. “I think it truly benefits the community, we’ve worked hard to bring these benefits.”

The Perinton Town Board voted to approve the new HCA on December 22, 2021, and it will be effective for a 5-year term. For the first time ever, residents were invited to review the plan and provide written feedback. Almost 150 comments were taken into consideration on the draft, all reviewed by the town officials during negotiations with Waste Management.

Here’s a full statement from the Fresh Air For the Eastside, Inc:

On December 22, 2021, just days before Waste Management of New York’s (WMNY) conditional Landfill Permit approval was set to expire, the Town of Board of the Town of Perinton (the “Town”) approved the draft Host Community Agreement (HCA) between the Town and WMNY without providing any opportunity for public comment. The HCA fails to adequately protect the Town’s residents or mitigate the impacts from New York City (NYC) Garbage that has been transported to the Landfill, and which makes up now 90% of the waste received.

The Town touted that the HCA would reduce NYC waste by 50% and states that the NYC Garbage shall not exceed 50 % of the Landfill’s permitted annual capacity. However, this language relates to the overall percentage of the permitted volume of solid waste allowed at the landfill. Since the permitted amount per year is 1,277,500 tons, and the NYC limit in the HCA is 638,750 tons/year, this sounds like a 50% reduction. However, it is not because WM has not ever been able to process the total permitted volume of 3,500 tons per day, and 638,750 tons/year is around the same amount of NYC garbage received in 2020, which was 90% of ALL solid waste received. Therefore, this is a smoke and mirrors reduction and not real. The Landfill will remain mostly a landfill for NYC waste if the levels remain the same as 2020.

The HCA also includes a “Property Value Protection Plan” (“PVPP”). The PVPP appears to be “applicable town-wide”, but several exclusions are listed. The PVPP applies to owners “who have previously opted, in writing, to participate in the Program pursuant to notices sent by the Town” but excludes “any property for which Owner has commenced or participated in a legal action for or has obtained compensation or damages by another remedy for devaluation[.]” Thus, the PVPP is not applicable town-wide as alleged. Further, the PVPP establishes several requirements that residents must conform with in order to benefit from the alleged protection. The PVPP fails to explain the justification for the exclusions and the requirements that property owners must comply with. There are so many requirements that it is unlikely that the Town residents will be able to take advantage of the alleged protections when they are selling their homes. The amount WM will pay is capped at no more than 15% below market value and the program is phased in over five years. Therefore, if your house is in the fifth Phase of the program, only in this fifth year will the program even apply to you.

Most disturbing is that the entire HCA terminates if and when landfilling ceases in the Town of Perinton. This is mostly when a HCA is needed. When the Landfill closes, there is no incentive for WM to provide anything to the community. In addition, because the Town has not mandated WM to cover the side slopes of the Landfill and perform additional monitoring, the Odors and Landfill impacts will continue as they have been as recently as these last two months when there were days of over 100 complaints.