“I am involved in this effort with REC and I guess what I write here is airing my frustration in public about the Dunn Landfill and it’s operation and it’s regulation. The one thing the Dunn operators and owners care most about is staying in business. That is capitalism by its nature and it is understandable. The problem is however that their business is ruining some people’s lives and due to long term affects it may be more than some people. Whether we consider the long term affects of being exposed to PFAS chemicals, the dangerous elements that blow from the landfill into the community, the overloaded and largely unregulated trucks that go into and out of the facility every day, spewing diesel, fumes and disrupting the quality of life if the adjoining neighborhoods, the operation by its very nature is a hazard.

So it is a business, but one that us supposed to be regulated by the State and held to account by our elected leaders. It is not! To prove that point ask yourself these questions. 1. Why are trucks not being stopped and inspected on a regular weekly basis an if they are in violation in any way turned around and sent back to where they came from? Why does the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation not release to the public the test results for PFAS chemicals they have had for months from the streams surrounding the landfill? Moreover with what they have found why don’t they test the leachate on site at the landfill for PFAS? Why don’t they test the sludge and the affluent that comes out of the Albany Waste Water treatment plant in Menands after the leachate is trucked there and processed by the plant? Why does the NYDEC continue a hotline arrangement so people can call in and complain about the landfill but then the person complaining never hears any more and has no record of their complaint? Why does DEC refuse to give REC an email to report the problems to so there can be accountability? What good does it do to have an independent contractor answer the phone “Dunn Landfill” so the person calling thinks they are reporting the problem to the business that is causing the problem? Why is the person (called an on site monitor)on site at the landfill who can deal with operational issues and has the authority to shut down operations an independent contractor and not a NYSDEC staff person? Why is this business allowed to make monetary donations to the School the the landfill abuts?

Long story short if you attempt to answer any of these questions in an honest way or get answers to these questions you either get no answer whatsoever or an answer that basically says “it works best for us”.

All of it is designed to help keep the landfill in business and to have the so called safe guards be entirely without teeth and designed to look like this operation is being regulated. Sure there have been fines and the landfill has established “mitigating systems” but it us all window dressing. The sulfide gas system does not work in cold weather and people who call to complain get no actual help.

When DEC does do something it is all for public relations and the trucks keep rolling and the problems continue.

There is no concerted, consistent effort on the part of the agency that is supposed to protect the people.

I wonder what would happen if a bi-weekly zoom session were held by DEC with members of the public asking for answers to the issues above and related issues with the press in attendance if positive change would start to happen? It would have to be in a format where there are not long winded presentations, but question and answer with documented follow up actions. I guess it would be like a public hearing where the public gets to ask the questions. You might say this is open and transparent government responding to the needs of the people. It would need to happen on a bi weekly basis and be long enough so everyone gets to ask their questions.

It is my frustration and if it is also yours the join with us at stopdunn.org, attend our meetings, raise your voices, get your friends and neighbors involved. We don’t have much time since the permit comes up for renewal in 2022. We need action and we need you!”

–  Bob Welton