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May 27 - JUNE 03, 2014

County Landfill Remediation Goes Out to Bid Cost may be offset by selling remaining 'air space' at C&D landfill

May 27, 2014

The now-closed C&D Landfill has room for more construction debris.

The Niagara County Department of Public Works last week issued a 232-page request for bids to repair and fill vacant space with debris for two of the three County-owned landfills in Lockport, one of which - the C & D landfill - was closed last July.

The other two landfills in Lockport have been closed for decades.

The bid contract covers site maintenance and utilization of the remaining 45,000 cubic yards of "air" space at the C&D landfill and to repair a leak at one of the older landfills at the Lockport site.

The ultimate "capping" of the 5-acre C&D landfill is not addressed in this bid. Capping, which is not done until the landfill is fully loaded with debris to the maximum capacity, is done with thick plastic, covered with clay, then soil and grass and is monitored by the DEC to ensure that it does not leak.

Acting Director for the Niagara County Refuse Disposal District, Dawn Timm, estimates that capping will run about $1 million for the C&D landfill once it is filled.

A bidder will pay the county money to utilize the remaining 45,000 cubic yards of airspace, which Timm estimates could be worth $20 per cubic yard or more. Conversely a bidder will have to charge the county money to fix leaks at the older landfill. Consequently, Timm was not certain whether the winning bidder will be presenting a check to the county or seeking money, since the full extent of the leak repairs and their cost remains unknown at this time.

Last year, the former Administrative Director for the Niagara County Refuse Disposal District, Richard P. Pope, was accused of manipulating his budgets to make it look

like the C&D landfill was profitable. In the 2012 budget, Pope allocated 52 percent of the disposal district's personnel costs to the C&D landfill, spreading the remainder of the costs among three closed landfills, two in Lockport and one in Wheatfield, which the district is required to monitor.

His critics said that most of the cost should have been allocated to the C&D and that, actually, the landfill was losing money.

It was taking in about 12 tons per day at about $65 per ton of construction debris. The other two landfills on the site are capped and filled with municipal waste.

Pope was placed on administrative leave last year after being accused of violating county policies on residency and personal use of county vehicles. He resigned in January.

Timm said that by closing the landfill for almost a year, county taxpayers have saved close to the $1 million it will take to ultimately cap the C&D landfill.

Meantime, allegations surfaced that, since Pope was suspended, and the C&D landfill closed, the two older long-closed landfills have not been properly maintained and that they regularly leak.

The Reporter was provided with photographs showing the leaking of leachate, which is water that has percolated through a solid landfill and leached out some of the constituents which could be hazardous.

The DEC made an inspection of the site, and last week county workers were deployed for several days to pump the leachate back into the long-closed landfill.

Blue Collar Union President Bill Rutland, an opponent of closing the landfill last year, told the Reporter, "say what you want about Rick Pope, the leaking of leachate would have never happened on his watch."

Photo shows landfill is leaking.





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