Updated: February 27, 2020 11:07 PM
Created: February 27, 2020 05:55 AM
A public meeting was held Thursday night to discuss ongoing concerns about the Dunn Landfill, located right near the Rensselaer City School District.
The district sent a letter home on Wednesday. The district said the informational session with the New York State Department of Health and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation was meant to give the public a chance to voice their concerns and the school to ask for increased testing. The school says odors from the landfill made it inside the building last October.
“You want to go outside for gym, you can't because it smells too bad,” said Senior Andrew Kretzschmar talking about the smell of hydrogen sulfide. “We shouldn't have to work around outside facilities when this is the school and we're here for education.”
The DEC has monitors outside the school for hydrogen sulfide and a particulate tester on the roof. They said they’re detecting low readings. The DEC said it does have concerns about the landfill and last month they issued a letter to them about the odor.
“They're in the process currently of installing a gas collection system on the site,” explained Chief of Staff for the DEC Sean Mahar. “We think this will be an important step to reduce some of those odor impacts that we're seeing, but if that doesn't work we're prepared to go to the next step.”
Outside of where the informational meeting was the Rensselaer Environmental Coalition set up its own table. They’re concerned about the health impacts the landfill is having on the community and want it shut down. The landfill handles construction and demolition debris.
"There could be asbestos, there could be lead, there could be dioxides,” said Thomas Ellis who is with the coalition. “Just think of all of the things that are in buildings when buildings get demolished especially buildings 100 years’ old.”
The New York State Department of Health said they’re doing testing regularly and no one should be alarmed.
"We're confident based on the material we've reviewed, so far, that there aren't concerning levels," said Department of Health Spokesperson Gary Holmes. "This doesn't pose a significant health risk."
While some had their questions answered, many said the setup of the session was too chaotic. They wished the DEC had given a formal presentation.
"It sends a message that they're not taking this seriously and we have very important questions,” said Kretzschmar
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