State Orders City To Clean Up Illegal Dump, High Cost Expected

by Mike Hudson

Following an expose in the Niagara Falls Reporter, the NYS DEC has ordered the city to close down and clean up an illegal dump near the Hyde Park Golf Course off Porter and New Road that the city has been using for years to dispose of street debris, dead animals, tree stumps, building materials and other detritus.

The makeshift landfill – formerly wetlands – has not been legally sanctioned and does not have containment mechanisms (like liners or containment walls) that landfills are required to possess.

The property was originally owned by the New York State Power Authority, but was deeded to the City after the 2007 relicensing of the power project. But the DPW began using the site long before – under former Mayor James Gallie, city sources told the Niagara Falls Reporter for an article that appeared on April 21.

Following the Reporter publication with pictures showing the site – said to be used for only compost – filled with all manner of illegally dumped street material including needles, used condoms, plastic, concrete, metal, and more, The DEC inspected the site and made tests.

Within three weeks the site has been closed and this week concrete bollards have been installed by the city to prevent the site from being used as an illegal dump site.

The city will now have to take its street sweeping debris to the Modern landfill in Lewiston and will a have to remove an estimated 100,000 yards of street sweepings already on site in addition to an estimated 500,000 yards of other illegally dumped debris to Modern at a cost that is estimated to be as much as $1 million.

It may be more if testing requires special hazardous waste removal procedures.

Department of Public Works Director John Caso blamed individuals and private contractors for some of the mess.

“People are sneaking onto the site in the middle of the night and weekends to dump,” Caso said. “Then there are fly by night contractors who don’t want to dispose of construction debris properly because it costs money. We realize there are a lot of shingles on the site.”

Now the state Department of Evironmental Conservation has stepped in. The city’s illegal dump covers acres of land, and it has been in use for a decade at least.

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