Rail Service at Seneca Meadows Renewable Resource Park
Locally based Finger Lakes Railway will become the newest tenant of the
Seneca Meadows Renewable Resource Park. The 20-year-old rail carrier
began track construction in November within its right of way for a truck-to-rail
transload facility primarily to serve area farmers. Rail customers will transfer
grains and other agricultural commodities at the Auburn Road Rail Terminal
within the industrial Park on Rt. 414. This addition to the Park is expected to
be operational by mid-December 2015. The facility will be open to approved rail
bulk freight customers looking for transportation options to expand specific
commodity markets. “This initiative creates a long-distance transportation
option that is both economically competitive and environmentally friendly,”
says Mike Smith, President of Finger Lakes Railway.
SENECA MEADOWS HAS A SPOTLESS ENVIRONMENTAL RECORD 20 YEARS RUNNING:
Seneca Meadows, Inc. employs the most sophisticated and protective environmental controls
available at its waste management facility. Seneca Meadows has a 20 year spotless environmental
record, and has earned honors such as the EPA’s 2014 Landfill Methane Outreach Program Project
of the Year Award and the Solid Waste Association of North America’s 2012 Excellence in Waste
SENECA COUNTY TOURISM CONTINUES TO GROW ALONGSIDE SENECA MEADOWS’
ACTRochester.org provides tourism statistics for Seneca County that clearly
demonstrate that the tourism industry has flourished while Seneca Meadows has operated.
An excerpt from their website is below:
“Seneca County has experienced the second largest increase in tourism revenue in the region between
2005 and 2013. In 2013, $48 million was spent on tourism in the county, a 42% increase from 2005.
In 2013, tourism revenue per resident was $1,360, compared to the regional figure of $1,250.”
STRONG PARTNERS: SENECA MEADOWS AND OUR LOCAL WATERSHED:
monitoring data for surface water (rain water/snowmelt) discharged from the Seneca Meadows
Landfill into local water bodies verifies that the surface water downstream of the Seneca
Meadows facility has a higher water quality than the water upstream of the facility. This
monitoring data is reported to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.
SENECA MEADOWS’ PERMITTED VOLUME REMAINS UNCHANGED:
The existing daily
permitted volumes at Seneca Meadows will not change, only the possible means of transportation
from truck to rail.
POSSIBLE TRANSPORTATION BY RAIL WOULD MEAN AT LEAST 100 FEWER TRUCKS
ON LOCAL ROADS EACH DAY:
Seneca Meadows currently accepts waste from New York City
via truck. The change to rail would result in the elimination of approximately 100 trucks or more
per day from our local roadways. The environmental and safety benefits of rail transportation are
Safer for Our Community. Statistics show that rail is the safest mode of transporting materials.
Finger Lakes Railway has an exceptional safety record.
Safer for Our Roads. Decongestion of roadways results in safer roads. Each rail car would take 3 to
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.
A Cleaner Environment. 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.
Partnering to Cut Energy Costs for Local Schools
Seneca Meadows, Inc. and Seneca Energy have developed a unique partnership that promises to cut annual energy costs for the Seneca Falls Central School District by $60,000 to $70,000.
When Seneca Meadows and Seneca Energy (the independent power producer that purchases landfill gas from Seneca Meadows to generate electricity and renewable natural gas) reached an agreement to build a landfill gas-to-natural gas plant adjacent to the landfill, Seneca Meadows stipulated in the contract that Seneca Energy would provide 125,000 Therms of renewable natural gas directly to the Seneca Falls School District annually, for as long as the Seneca Energy plant is in operation. Upon investigating the logistics of delivering renewable natural gas to the school district, however, Seneca Energy discovered several obstacles which rendered the project unfeasible. Seneca Energy will, instead, cover the cost of the District’s natural gas bill, up to 125,000 Therms per year; which will more than cover the annual natural gas needs of the District.
Seneca Falls School Superintendent, Bob McKeveny, said, “Given the current constraints to education funding, reimbursement of natural gas costs by Seneca Meadows and Seneca Energy is significant. The reimbursement of monthly natural gas costs will allow the District to continue exercising fiscal responsibility in meeting its core mission of providing a quality education to all Seneca Falls students. The District recognizes the significance of this contribution to offset annual costs and is appreciative of Seneca Meadows’ and Seneca Energy’s generosity. The District would also like to pursue natural gas options for school buses and sees this agreement as a means to pursue a lower costing fuel option for buses in the future.”
Don Gentilcore, Area Manager for Seneca Meadows said this about the partnership, “We are pleased to have the resources to develop partnerships that benefit our local community. This creative arrangement provides direct financial relief to the Seneca Falls School District and demonstrates how the development of renewable energy projects such as Seneca Energy’s are not only beneficial to the environment, but the local economy as well. We hope to continue to encourage more great relationships in the future.”
The Seneca Falls school District currently uses natural gas for heating and hot water in its four schools and its District office.
Landfill Gas to Energy
Whether landfill gas is burned as a fuel to generate electricity or refined into renewable natural gas, the results are the same: there is less pollution, because producing energy with landfill gas is a cleaner process than traditional energy production, and the end product (renewable natural gas) burns cleaner than fossil fuels. To learn more, visit our Gas-to-Energy page.
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.
Reverse Osmosis Purifies Leachate
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.