Officials re-route early morning landfill traffic

ELLERY – Local officials have responded to residents’ concerns about noise near the Chautauqua County Landfill in Ellery.

According to County Executive Vince Horrigan, the landfill’s hours have not changed, but officials have re-routed early morning traffic away from the Bemus-Ellery Road and onto Route 430 to address issues with noise for local residents. Saturday operations at the landfill also continue.

“Out-of-county waste is integral to our business plan for the landfill,” Horrigan said. “That’s what keeps (the landfill) profitable from an enterprise fund standpoint.”

Horrigan explained that the landfill is in fact an enterprise account- a business account- and it will continue to be run as a business.

Between the county-owned landfill and electric plant, which utilizes methane generated in the landfill, over $1 million in positive revenue was raised last year that reduced the burden on taxpayers by directly lowering the county’s tax levy.

“Regarding the early morning traffic – we have an agreement with Pro Waste, of Erie, to accommodate their hours,” Horrigan said. “We are running the landfill as efficiently and effectively as possible. It’s well-maintained and well-monitored, something we are proud of.”

Horrigan added that although the landfill is strictly a business, officials are also listening and being “sensitive” to area residents’ concerns and alleviating issues wherever possible.

Arden Johnson, town of Ellery supervisor, said that the re-routing seems to be making a level of difference.

“(The noise) seems to be better – there’s not as much noise on the Bemus-Ellery Road due to the re-routing,” Johnson said.

According to a previous interview with Johnson, the town is opposed to the proposed landfill expansion based mainly on environmental concerns.

In a recent Letter to the Editor printed in The Jamestown Post-Journal titled, “Landfill Traffic Vs. Hours Of Operation,” David Wesp, Bemus Point resident, shared his concerns about noise issues from waste trucks coming to and leaving from the landfill.

Specifically, Wesp stated that noisy trucks on the Bemus-Ellery Road during early morning hours- as early as 4:30 a.m. – and Saturdays were the main issue.

Now that the trucks have been re-routed, Wesp feels that the issue has simply been shifted onto other residents. He also stated that although the noise level has been somewhat lowered, there are still commercial trucks running along the Bemus-Ellery Road.

“What gives the county the right to operate outside of normal business hours?” asked Wesp.

Wesp said that taking in so much outside garbage, specifically from Pro Waste, is why an expansion project is necessary in the first place.

“The county is looking only at the dollar figures,” Wesp said. “It is coming at the burden of residents.”

According to Wesp, area residents are looking for the landfill to operate during normal business hours.

The county is waiting on a permit to be issued from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to continue with the expansion plans.

The public comment phase of the application process ended June 24, where individuals could voice comments or concerns about the project directly to the Department of Environmental Conservation.

According to the landfill’s expansion proposal, the project involves a 53-acre lateral expansion of the landfill to the west of the existing landfill. The landfill area, including the perimeter berms, channel and access roads and stormwater control ponds total roughly 74 acres. The proposed rate of waste acceptance would not be increased from the current permitted rate of 1,883 tons per day.