Current Projects

Lake Effect Study at Seneca Meadows

In our continuing efforts to be a valued partner in our community, Seneca Meadows is participating in a lake effect study conducted by the Center for Severe Weather Research and eight academic institutions. The study, which is entitled, Our Lake Effect Snowband project, (OWLeS), is designed to examine the formation mechanisms, cloud microphysics, boundary layer processes and dynamics of lake-effect systems in unprecedented detail. In December, the DOW, (Doplar radar On Wheels), made its first appearance on the Seneca Meadows site, and was again deployed on January 6, 2014 to collect data. The study is expected to continue throughout the month of January.

The OWLeS study is not the first academic study to be performed at the Seneca Meadows facilities. In 2012, a SUNY ESF (college of environmental science and forestry) student conducted honors research on the richness of bee and wasp diversity at the Seneca Meadows Wetlands Preserve on Black Brook Road.

Don Gentilcore, Area Manager for Seneca Meadows, said this about the study, “we are committed to enriching our community with the resources we have available; whether it’s environmental research or working with community groups to further their initiatives. Seneca Meadows plans to continue pursuing valuable partnerships with local colleges and universities, and the many civic, charitable and service organizations that make this community great.”




OWLeS Project

As described in the OWLeS website, lake-effect systems form through surface-air interactions as a cold air mass is advected over relatively warm, (at least partially), ice-free mesoscale bodies of water. The OWLeS project focuses on Lake Ontario because of its size and orientation, the frequency of lake-effect systems events (especially intense single bands), its nearby moderate orography, the impact of Lake Ontario lake-effect systems hazards in particular on public safety and commerce, and the proximity of several universities with large atmospheric science programs.

The OWLeS study will incorporate X-band and S-band dual-polarization radars, an aircraft instrumented with particle probes and profiling cloud radar and lidar, a mobile integrated sounding system, a network of radiosondes, and a surface network of snow characterization instruments

The study is funded, primarily, by the National Science Foundation. To learn more about OWLeS, visit their website http://owles.org.


Seneca Meadows Rail Spur Proposal

Trading trucks for rail is a gaining trend in the U.S., and one that the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority approves of for waste management facilities, according to their 2013 Cleaner, Greener Communities Program Draft Implementation Strategy. The benefits of this trend are numerous:

  • 1. Each rail car takes 3 – 4 trucks off of local roadways.
  • 2. Freight trains, on average, are 3.8 times more fuel efficient than trucks, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 75 percent.
  • 3. Statistics show that rail is the safest way to transport goods over land.

To learn the details of our proposed rail spur project, please read the FAQs below.



Rail Spur Project FAQs

Q. Will Seneca Meadows seek an increase in its annual waste acceptance rate with the implementation of rail?

A. No. Like all waste management facilities in New York State, our operating permit, which was issued by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, limits our annual waste acceptance rate. An additional condition is included in that permit which prohibits us from seeking a tonnage increase that would reduce our site life. Modifications to this permit condition cannot be made simply because a new mode of waste delivery is available, and we are not applying for any increase to our permitted tonnage.



Q. Will the implementation of rail result in a decrease in truck traffic to the landfill?

A. Yes. Each rail car takes 3 – 4 trucks off of our local roadways. This will increase the longevity of our local roadways by reducing maintenance needs, which will save taxpayer dollars. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions.



Q. Is there an environmental benefit to transporting freight by rail rather than truck?

A. Yes. According to the Federal Rail Administration (FRA), freight trains, on average, are 3.8 times more fuel efficient than trucks, which results in a 75 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions. In a 2009 report entitled, Comparative Evaluation of Rail and Truck Fuel Efficiency on Competitive Corridors, the FRA also asserts that if only 10 percent of long-haul freight now moving by truck moved by rail instead, annual greenhouse gas emissions would fall by approximately 11 million tons annually.



Q. Will rail deliveries to Seneca Meadows disrupt local traffic? If so, how will that affect local businesses?

A. Finger Lakes Railway’s current train schedule brings two trains through the local area per day. The build out rail traffic associated with this proposal will not increase that schedule. If the project reaches its full potential, it would only result in one additional train per day.

In addition, each train crossing Route 414 or North Road will be limited to 12 cars. With this limited train length, traffic disruption is estimated to last approximately two minutes per crossing. This movement will be held outside of peak traffic times to minimize the impact of traffic at those crossings.



Q. Where will the rail spur and container transfer area be located?

A. Initially, one spur will be constructed south of the Seneca Meadows Tire Recycling Facility, on the west side of Route 414, providing access to an unloading yard located south of Salcman Road. Should this pilot project prove successful, Seneca Meadows will construct up to three additional spurs in the same location, and construct a support yard on the east side of Route 414.



Q. What will be the visual impact of the rail yard?

A. The railroad yard will be located south of the Seneca Meadows Tire Recycling Facility on land that is currently used by Seneca Meadows for the staging of construction materials. The wooded green space on North Road, which is not owned by Seneca Meadows and not part of the project area, will remain intact and act as a visual barrier to the rail yard, just as it currently does for the stockpiling area. Additionally, the rail yard area will be surrounded by landscaped berms to offer added visual screening for the project.



Q. Will waste filled freight cars generate odor as they pass through town or at the container transfer area?

A. No. All freight containers carrying waste will be fully enclosed, sealed containers, with leak tight seals on the base, joints of doors and the cover to prevent the infiltration of rainwater and the release of odors. These sealed containers will only be opened at the landfill cell for disposal.



Q. Will the material hauled by train be stored at the Seneca Meadows rail spur location or support yard prior to disposal?

A. No. Waste material will be handled and deposited in the landfill as it arrives on site.



Q. Is there a different procedure for environmental monitoring of waste received by rail?

A. Seneca Meadows operates in accordance with a waste screening procedure that has been approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, and will continue to do so regardless of the mode of waste delivery. The procedure involves:

  • 1. Laboratory testing of industrial waste to ensure that it meets non-hazardous criteria, as well as site specific criteria. This testing helps us determine whether the waste is acceptable.
  • 2. On-site radiation monitoring of all waste as it passes over our scales, prior to disposal.
  • 3. Random daily selection of waste hauling vehicles for an individualized inspection of their contents.
  • 4. Visual inspection by heavy equipment operators of waste as it is unloaded.



Q. How safe is the train transport of waste?

A. Finger Lakes Railway has an exceptional safety record, and has been honored with the Jake Award for Safety all 18 years that they have been in operation. Statistics show that rail is the safest mode of transporting waste.



Q. Will any portion of the cost of the rail spur be paid for by taxpayer dollars?

A. No. Seneca Meadows and Finger Lakes Railway will cover the entire cost of the rail spur.


Reverse Osmosis Purifies Leachate

  Leachate Before & After

 

It’s pretty black and white: the effect of reverse osmosis on leachate, that is. The process involves high pressure filtration, which moves the leachate through multiple, semi-permeable membranes to remove more than 99 percent of contaminants. The results are as clear as the purified leachate, and exactly what we were hoping for when we installed our new reverse osmosis treatment system at our landfill site this fall.

For those of you who are new to our website, a bit of explanation may be in order. Leachate is rainwater that has contacted waste. In a landfill, the rainwater trickles down through the waste and is captured at the bottom by the liner system, and pumped out for treatment.

Typically, the leachate is trucked, or sent via pipeline, to waste water treatment plants, and until this fall, that’s how we managed our leachate. Due to the nature of the leachate, we were limited to the number of gallons we could send to the Seneca Falls treatment plant and trucked the remaining gallons to other, out-of-county treatment plants.

With the implementation of our reverse osmosis treatment system, the purified leachate is so clean that it could be discharged directly into a body of water. However, since Seneca Meadows lacks the infrastructure for direct discharge, we are now transferring nearly all of our purified leachate, through the sewer system, to Seneca Falls. This has resulted in a significant increase in revenue for the Seneca Falls Wastewater Treatment Plant, and has also eliminated up to 15 truck trips per day to out of county plants.

Our Area Manager, Don Gentilcore has this to say about our new reverse osmosis leachate treatment faciity, “This is a positive on many levels. We’re pumping more money into our local economy, decreasing our carbon footprint, and eliminating the discharge of untreated leachate through the Seneca Falls sewer system, while realizing long term operating savings. We’ve also bumped up our workforce with the new operator for the leachate treatment facility, and we were able to make use of an abandoned building on our site, which will increase tax revenue for the county.”

To view a video of the operation of a reverse osmosis leachate treatment system, like the one at Seneca Meadows, log onto http://vimeo.com/47055349.