ERAC denies WIN Waste Innovations of Seneca County’s request to suspend conditions

The Environmental Review Appeals Commission (ERAC) heard argument on Wednesday to consider a motion by WIN Waste Innovations of Seneca County to delay the effective date of three conditions in its 2024 operating license issued by the Seneca County Board of Health.

These conditions contain nine requirements for WIN Waste that are designed to prevent pollution from incoming railcars loaded with waste.  The ERAC denied WIN Waste’s request to delay the effective date for eight of the nine requirements.  The ERAC suspended the effective date for a requirement that all incoming rail cars of waste be either watertight or covered with an impermeable and watertight cover until such time that an evidentiary hearing is held later this year to accept evidence about that requirement.

The ERAC denied WIN Waste’s request to delay the effective date for requirements to inspect incoming railcars for leaks, remove any soil that is contaminated by leaks from railcars, refrain from spraying water on the railcars in amounts that cause leakage from the railcars, keep a daily log of inspections and cleanup actions, collect any liquids from railcars inside the railcar unloading building to prevent their escape into the environment, and prevent litter from being blown off the railcars.

The 2024 operating license issued by Seneca County Board of Health contains a total of 24 conditions.

“The conditions outlined in WIN Waste’s 2024 operating license are reasonable and aimed at protecting the environment and residents of Seneca County,” said Seneca County Health Commissioner Julie Richards. “I’m pleased that ERAC upheld eight out of the nine requirements in the three conditions designed to prevent the contamination of the environment from waste leaking from railcars at the landfill.”

Also at the hearing on Wednesday, ERAC accepted evidence submitted by the Seneca County General Health District about a notice of violations issued to WIN Waste Innovations of Seneca County regarding an inspection on February 13, 2024.

The notice of violation finds that WIN Waste failed to undertake the actions necessary to prevent and correct conditions causing erosion in two areas of the landfill in which wastes had been disposed.  The notice of violation also noted the discovery of ponding that had not been timely removed from the landfill’s waste disposal area.  The notice of violation found that WIN Waste had not kept accurate logs of its mandatory daily inspections for these areas.

On Wednesday, March 13, another notice of violation was issued to WIN Waste for the violation of a license condition requiring WIN Waste to test its gas extraction wells to find out whether they are functioning correctly. The license condition is meant to prevent noxious odors from the landfill.

“The efforts by the Board to ensure landfill oversight and compliance are now discovering violations. Two notices of violations have already been issued in 2024 and one of those violations includes a failure to comply with a reasonable condition in both the 2023 and 2024 licenses,” said Dr. Zachary West, Vice President of the Seneca County Board of Health and Chair of the Environmental Committee. “The Seneca County Board of Health is making great strides in establishing the highest quality landfill oversight with the tools, resources and necessary personnel aimed at ensuring the health and wellbeing of our citizens and the place we collectively call “home” is protected. Every step taken by the Board, however, continues to be met with legal action by WIN Waste.”

During a special board meeting on Thursday, March 7, the Seneca County Board of Health approved the creation of a Landfill Oversight and Compliance Division. The division will be tasked with the oversight of WIN Waste.

“As the landfill continues to grow, so do the issues and concerns related to it,” West said. “The Seneca County General Health District must therefore adapt and respond. The creation of the Landfill Oversight and Compliance Division allows the Health District to further focus on the enforcement of landfill compliance.”