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Benefits cited for county, city due to landfill deal

Niagara County will save money and the City of Lockport will make money under a landfill runoff deal approved Monday.

The county Refuse Disposal District will begin trucking liquid leachate from its closed landfills on Route 93 to the city wastewater treatment plant, instead of to a county sewer district inlet on East Canal Road.

The city will charge the refuse district less than the sewer district does, saving the refuse district as much as $22,000 per year, Director Richard P. Pope said.

Meanwhile, the city picks up a new sewer customer. "We stand to make $40,000 to $50,000 a year in revenue," Mayor Michael W. Tucker said.

Anthony Hahn, administrative director of the sewer district, said the leachate from the landfills is too toxic for his plant to treat. The sewer district's treatment permit from the state says it's not allowed to take sewage that contains more than 4 parts per million of boron, and the landfill leachate exceeds that almost all the time.

"It wasn't one time. It was two years of [test] results. It was consistently over," Hahn told the refuse district board, composed of county legislators.

Tucker said the city's sewage treatment permit is silent on the subject of boron, meaning the city can take any amount of it.

"It seems our regulations or standards are different," Tucker said. "It's a win for the county taxpayers, and it's a win for the city."

The refuse district board approved the city's offer, contained in an Oct. 2 letter. The disposal cost difference between the city and the sewer district is tiny -- the city will charge 1.45 cents per gallon, while the sewer district charged 1.5 cents -- but since the city has its own lab, it will be able to compile test results and reports the sewer district would have had to hire someone else to perform.

That alone saves the refuse district $17,700 a year, Pope estimated. Also, the refuse district won't have to spend an estimated $2,500 a year plowing snow away from the sewer intake on East Canal Road.

Pope estimated that the landfills produce 2 million to 3 million gallons of leachate per year.

In other news, Pope reported that 400 pounds of prescription drugs were collected and burned at the drug collection day Saturday at Mount St. Mary's Hospital in Lewiston. It was the first such collection ever authorized by the Department of Environmental Conservation in Western New York, said refuse district Chairman John D. Ceretto, R-Lewiston.

Pope also said that 2,544 pieces of electronic equipment were dropped off at the Niagara Falls and North Tonawanda public works garages in another refuse district recycling effort.

It took place every Saturday in September in Niagara Falls and every Saturday in October in North Tonawanda. Pope said the appliances filled four Dumpsters, each 6 to 7 feet high and 25 feet long.

"We're doing some things that no one else is doing," Ceretto said.


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