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Landfill capping project nears completion in Lockport

LOCKPORT – The placement of a 12-inch-deep soil cover over the recently closed Niagara County landfill is expected to be completed this week, according to Dawn M. Timm, interim refuse disposal district director.

The construction and demolition landfill off the Lockport Bypass, which was the last operating landfill of the four the district owns, took its last load of waste July 3.

The 4.6-acre landfill is being covered in soil that the district had been stockpiling. Three district employees using county-owned equipment started the work on July 10.

The only additional expense for the temporary cover is fuel and $2,500 to $3,000 worth of employee overtime, Timm said.

She said that when the weather is good, dirt is being hauled 10 hours a day during the week, with a half-day on Saturday.

“We’re having a tough go of it because of the precipitation,” said Timm, who also is the county’s environmental science coordinator.

The state Department of Environmental Conservation recommended the 1-foot layer of dirt as a preliminary to a permanent cap, which is to be installed next spring.

Because of the rainy summer, “There’s quite a lot of leachate pumping that has to occur,” Timm told the Refuse District Board, which consists of county legislators.

As the cover goes on, the leachate will be reduced, because of the clay content of the soil, she added.

Some 5,000 to 7,000 cubic yards of dirt will go into the temporary cover. The permanent cover will start with a plastic liner with 18 inches of dirt fill over it, and 6 inches of topsoil atop the fill.

The hope, Timm said, is that grass will grow in the cap, which the county is required to maintain for at least 30 years.

That cap was estimated to cost $1.1 million in a report last October by Clough Harbour & Associates.

Meanwhile, down the road, the county’s already-closed Landfill 2 has a problem with gas bubbles.

Timm said a 200-by-100-foot “scab” had formed in the north slope of the landfill cap, and when there is rainy weather, the water leaks in and reacts with the rotted waste, forcing gas bubbles through the cap.

The board approved a $4,850 investigation of repair costs by Clough Harbour. Timm told the board that a gas vent will have to be installed next year, with the cost to be included in the 2014 county budget.