We truly appreciate the NYSDEC for opening up the application process to allow for public input and extensive review if the Dunn Construction and Demolition Landfill files for an application to renew its operating permit by January 22, 2022.

There is a lot more the DEC can do about this operation and how it is affecting the communities around it and applying much greater oversight of this operation. The location of this landfill next door to the K-12 school with the truck route through residential areas screams out for priority attention from the regulators.

The community is up in arms over the destruction and hazards this operation brings to the local communities. Rensselaer County, the City of Rensselaer and the Town of East Greenbush have all called fir it’s immediate closure.

Experts have testified that it is a clear and present danger to people especially children.

Community residents have been surveyed and have provided overwhelming evidence on the negative impact on their lives.

So where is the additional scrutiny ? Why isn’t it happening? Do the poor people in Rensselaer not deserve the same attention as the people in the suburbs? Is it because this operation is causing slow and insidious destruction and health consequences instead of immediate and obvious damage that makes a difference? Doesn’t anyone care about long term consequences? What about the children?

The State of New York is responsible for the pain, fear, anxiety, destruction of health, quality of life, this operation inflicts on a daily basis to the surrounding community. They gave final approval to this location. They are responsible!

Region 4 of DEC is located in Schenectady. This office is from where monitoring is to take place. It does not work because no regular DEC staff is assigned full time responsibility for monitoring the operation. They are not there day in and day out to personally monitor the operations and speak with community residents about the problems they are experiencing. The only on site monitor is a contract employee who works for an Enginneering firm that in the final analysis is paid for by the landfill’s owners. Gee, I wonder why that doesn’t work?

What could a regular employee do? First thing is to do a regular in person audit of the weighing of the trucks when they come into the landfill to see that overweight loads are not being accepted. There has not been one report of an overweight load from the Dunn facility to DEC since they opened in January 2015. In addition there have been only 4 reports if unauthorized materials during that entire time. These two facts should tell you that the operation is essentially unregulated in the most serious aspects of its operation.

The numerous complaints of residents are inadequately administered, There is a hot line answered “Dunn Landfill” by contract operators who then transmit an email to DEC. In almost al, cases the person making the complaint never hears any more about it, and has no record of the complaint. A DEC employee with a cell phone and a computer on site could immediately take complaints and investigate.

In 2019 the Rensselaer School Board requested the DEC Commissioner to take steps to measure the fine particulate in the aur near the school and to involve the State Health Department in that effort. It has never been done.

Our new Governor could correct all these issues in a heart beat if she looked in her new backyard and picked up the phone and asked Commissioner to do his job, or better yet to take immediate steps to get this operation closed.

–  Bob Welton