Frequently Asked Questions

What type of waste do you accept?

Seneca Meadows, Inc. (SMI) accepts non-hazardous, solid waste from residences, businesses and industry. All industrial waste is screened and tested through an approval process prior to being accepted at the landfill.

Who regulates the facility?

The Seneca Meadows Landfill is regulated by Local, State and Federal agencies, including the Town of Seneca Falls, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration and the Environmental Protection Agency. These agencies monitor SMI to ensure that our operations meet the standards of our permits, and applicable regulations.

In addition, a NYS Department of Environmental Conservation monitor is on-site each week to oversee landfill operations.

Seneca Meadows operates under 50 permits, including:

6 NYCRR Part 360 Solid Waste Management Facility Permit;
Town of Seneca Falls, Chapter 58 License;
Part 201 Title V Air Permit;
Part 608 Article 15 Water Quality Certification;
Part 608 Article 24 Water Quality Certification;
4 – Industrial Discharge Permits;
5 – Article 23 Mined Land Reclamation Permits;
5 – Stormwater SPDES Permits;
Petroleum Bulk Storage Registration; and,
Tire Recycling Facility Registration.

What type of environmental protection do you provide?

The primary components of the environmental protection program in place at the Seneca Meadows Landfill include:

A double composite liner and leachate collection system;
Landfill gas collection and control;
Comprehensive environmental monitoring;
Stormwater management; and,
Daily, intermediate, and final cover systems.
Interactive Graphic of Liner System and Gas Collection System construction

What is leachate, and how is it managed?

Leachate is rainwater that has come into contact with waste. SMI’s liner and leachate collection system is designed to protect groundwater from waste contamination by containing and removing the leachate. The liner and leachate collection system has a double composite design, with two sets of clay soil liners and high density polyethylene liners, as well as two layers of leachate collection pipes.

What is landfill gas and how is it managed?

Landfill gas (LFG) is created when organic waste decomposes. The gas consists of about 50 percent methane (the primary component of natural gas), about 50 percent carbon dioxide, and traces of non-methane organic compounds. The LFG generated is collected and controlled, and the system is monitored to evaluate its effectiveness.

SMI’s landfill gas collection and control system operates to significantly reduce pollutants and minimize odor. The collection system transfers gas from the landfill to the Landfill Gas to Energy Plants, where 18 engine/generators burn the gas to produce 18 megawatts of electricity. Currently, this electricity is added to NYSEG’s power grid.

Converting LFG to energy offsets the need for non-renewable resources such as coal and oil, and helps to reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases that cause global climate change.

Have any risk evaluations been performed on landfill gas?

Several air samples were collected at and around the landfill site by the NYS Department of Health (NYSDOH) in 1995 and 1996, which, according to the NYSDOH, did not quantify any offsite health risks, associated with landfill air emissions. In addition, SMI, in cooperation with the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), the NYSDOH and local residents performed a Landfill Gas Sampling/Risk Evaluation and Ambient Sampling Program in 1997. This program included sampling at the landfill surface, computer modeling of gas emission rates and ambient air sample collection on and off-site during odor events reported by the community. No exceedances of published health based guidance values were identified with landfill gas emissions from the facility.

What sort of environmental monitoring is performed?

SMI also has a comprehensive environmental monitoring program, approved by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC), which includes the following:

Monitoring Type and Frequency

Groundwater Monitoring: Quarterly sampling of monitoring wells.

Surface Water Monitoring: Quarterly surface water/sediment sampling in Black Brook.

Stormwater Basins: Sampling prior to and during discharge of stormwater retention basins.

Noise Monitoring: Annually

Leachate Monitoring: Semi-annual sampling of leachate wells/sumps; Quarterly composite sampling (POTW); Annual priority pollutant sampling (POTW); and Bi-annual sampling for hazardous waste parameters (POTW).

What do you do with all those tires?

Whole tires received at the site are processed into tire chips at SMI’s tire processing facility. These chips are used in the construction of the landfill gas and leachate collection systems as a replacement for natural drainage materials. SMI has recycled more than 20 million tires.

What will happen to the landfill after it closes?

The landfill is required to be monitored, inspected and maintained for a minimum of 30 years following the final closure of the site. During that period, the following will occur:

Groundwater, landfill gas, leachate, surface water and stormwater will continue to be monitored and tested.
Leachate will continue to be removed from the landfill and treated.
Landfill gas will continue to be collected from the landfill.
The final cover system and other environmental controls will be maintained.
A Post-Closure Account has been established and is completely funded by SMI to care for the site during this post closure period.