By Terry Duffy
CWM Chemical Services announced this week that its Residuals Management Unit 1 landfill has reached its airspace capacity. The company is no longer accepting hazardous wastes at its Balmer Road facility in Porter.
CWM Public Affairs spokesperson Lori Caso said a letter to the State Department of Environmental Conservation revealed the company accepted its final hazardous waste shipment on Nov. 12. RMU-1 opened in 1994 and reached its 5-million-ton hazardous waste capacity last week.
CWM remains in a waiting period with DEC as the governor's appointed state Hazardous Waste Siting Board continues to review the merits of the company's application permit for a new RMU-2 landfill of roughly 44 acres. In the meantime, CWM continues to operate its aqueous treatment facility and drum building complex.
"Yes, it's true that we have run out of air space, but that does not mean that operations at CWM have ceased," Caso said. "As a treatment storage disposal facility (TSDF), the drum building and aqueous treatment facility are still able to accommodate customers. We do not anticipate a time when operations will end here."
Caso added the company still awaits the decision of Siting Board Administrative Law Judge Daniel O'Connell, who presided over a three-day hearing in Youngstown earlier this year on the merits of RMU-2 application. She said CWM is seeking a six-month extension from DEC to complete the capping process and that otherwise it is a holding period on its future in Porter as DEC makes its final decision.
Caso did not elaborate what CWM parent Waste Management's plans would be for Porter if DEC ultimately rules against the RMU-2 application.
Meanwhile, the news of the closure of RMU-1 is being welcomed by many in the Lewiston and Youngstown communities. A number of interests, from Niagara County to the Town and Village of Lewiston, the Village of Youngstown, the Lewiston-Porter School District, area legislators to community groups such as Residents for Responsible Government, have been outspoken against CWM hazardous waste landfilling for years, and remain in complete opposition to the plan.
"CWM Chemical Services' push to add a new landfill and bring even more hazardous waste into our area is simply unacceptable," Assemblyman John Ceretto said. "Our communities are already overburdened - the landfill located in Lewiston and Porter is the only licensed hazardous waste disposal site in all of New York state.
"Adding another landfill is unfathomable. I have been pushing back against CWM for nearly two decades, starting as a councilman, and I will continue working with the governor and the DEC to protect the well-being of our families by fighting against a new landfill so we can keep hazardous waste out of our backyard."
RRG's Tim Henderson said his group, which has feverishly fought against CWM's existence for years, and remains steadfast against expansion, welcomed the latest news of RMU-1.
"For the first time in 45 years, there is no more toxic waste being buried in our community!" he said. "Our roads are safe again. If the Siting Board listens to the DEC, that stated that an expansion isn't necessary, and the residents who say it's not wanted, then our community has begun the detoxification process, and its chemical dependence on hazardous waste revenues (ends).
"This opens the door to cleaner, healthier, safer businesses in our community, and makes our future look a whole lot brighter."