CAMPBELL - Multiple residents expressed their opposition to the expansion of the Hakes C&D Landfill in Painted Post during a public hearing at Campbell Town Hall Tuesday night, which was held to discuss the possible rezoning of tax parcels owned by the landfill that could eventually make way for a proposed expansion.
The hearing was held regarding the possible rezone of approximately 390 acres of land owned by the Hakes C&D Landfill into a non-residential planned development district. Hakes C&D Landfill is owned by Casella Waste Systems.
The town does not plan to vote on this issue until its March board meeting at the earliest, according to Campbell Town Supervisor Jeffrey Horton. But about a dozen residents, some who live in proximity to the landfill - some who do not - spoke at the public hearing Tuesday night to express their opposition to the landfill’s proposed expansion from about 57 acres to 80 acres.
One of the speakers, Maryalice Little, said she lives one property away from the disposal sight.
“I am concerned about the radiation that was detected. I am concerned about odors, and noises, and when they expand they’re going to expand closer to my property,” said Little.
“My husband’s family has lived there since 1947, so we were there first. It’s where we’ve raised our children, it’s where he was raised, it’s where we want to live for the rest of our lives.”
Painted Post resident Bill Mattingly said he was also concerned about the radioactive materials reportedly found in the landfill.
“There’s a controversy here. There’s some high readings. Where are they coming from? Radioactivity is not something you can just take out of the water or take out of the air very easily,” said Mattingly. “I caution the town council to go very slow on this.”
“Instead of looking to expand, I’d say ‘hey wait a minute, this radioactivity isn’t even supposed to be here.’”
Resident C.K. Landis, who said he lives on Frog Hollow Road, was concerned for a number of reasons, one being the smell emitted from the landfill and the possibility of it spreading if an expansion was approved.
“We the people who live around this landfill have made numerous complaints for the last 4-5 years about the smell and the odor,” said Landis.
Landis also expressed concerns regarding the sharp turn on Erwin Hollow Road heading up to the landfill, where several dump trucks filled with trash have overturned in past years.
“What’s it going to take for (the board) to do something?” he asked.
The smell was also a major concern for John Culver, who said his property borders the landfill.
“It’s big business, doing their thing, and it’s awful, on top of everything else,” said Culver. “Some mornings it’s so bad, and I open my door, you feel like you’re going to puke before you get in the truck and get out of there. I go down in my woods and it’s right there, I look up at it.”
The landfill expansion proposal has come under criticism and skepticism from residents around the landfill and others throughout the region concerned about the environmental impact. Environmental groups such as the Sierra Club and People for a Healthy Environment have expressed concern regarding levels of radioactive elements such as Lead-214 and Bismuth-214 that were found in the landfill.
Those elements likely originated following the landfill’s acceptance of drill cuttings in fracking waste from Pennsylvania. The proposed expansion's Draft Supplemental Environmental Impact Statement (DSEIS) stated the amount of these substances in the landfill is at a safe level.
On the other hand, local resident Stan Manning expressed his support for the landfill expansion because of the “financial benefit” and “economic boost” it would provide to the town.
“They employ local people and provide necessary service to local contractors, giving them a place to dispose of their waste. As far as the environmental impact goes, the DEC… has addressed all the concerns brought up at the public hearing held February 13, 2018,” said Manning, referring to the Department of Environmental Conservation public hearing held at the Campbell American Legion last year.
Horton said the town may vote on the proposed rezoning of the property at its next board meeting on March 11, or may hold off on voting until another date.
“At the next board meeting we could vote on it, it’s not necessary,” he said. “Basically we take the public’s comments, we gather that, and now the board has to look into the different avenues.”