For more than 10 years, the city of Albany has attempted to site
a large regional solid waste landfill in the town of Coeymans.
The dump would be located about a mile south of where the Berkshire
Spur section of the New York State Thruway connects to I-87.
Trash would come from Albany, Cohoes, Berne, Bethleham,
Guilderland, Knox, New Scotland, Westerlo, Watervliet, Rensselaer,
Altamont, Rensselaerville, Green Island and elsewhere.
Among the reasons Coeymans residents oppose the project
are concerns about noise, odors, truck traffic, visual impacts,
reduction in property values, and that a new dump might be
open for many decades and enlarged several times with wastes
arriving from a huge area including possibly New York City.
Additional concerns are the huge varieties and quantities
of toxic materials that would end up in the dump, and lost
future economic growth. A dump would emit toxic gases and
aerosolized carcinogens, and would almost certainly increase
health problems for humans and animals who inhabit the area.
The dump would pollute groundwater and nearly streams and
leak poisons into the Hudson River.
State courts have decreed that the city must obtain a landfill
permit from the state Department of Environmental Conservation
before it can purchase the land, but the city has yet to
submit a draft environmental impact statement with DEC.
It is well known that the chosen site is very wet; last
year a consultant hired by the city reported that the section
of the property where the dump would be located contains
more than 100 acres of wetlands.
The city already operates a dump in Albany just west of
the Thruway-Northway interchange. Albany obtains more than
$12 million a year in revenues from dumpers. This landfill
is also badly sited, located in an ecologically sensitive
pine barrens, home of the endangered Karner Blue butterfly
that used to live where the dump is now located.
Solving solid waste problems is not easy. Residents of
Coeymans have blocked the city’s plans for a decade and will continue
trying to do so. Albany selected a bad site and has wasted 10
years and $4 million. The Coeymans site is unworkable and Albany
should abandon it.
Printed in August/September 2005 Newsletter