Why New York’s Biggest Landfill Is Only Getting Bigger

It had been scheduled to be shut down by 2025, but those plans have changed. Why New York’s Biggest Landfill Is Only Getting Bigger Waste Connections/YouTube screenshot

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Despite widespread efforts to cut down on waste and recycle, an overwhelming majority of America’s trash still ends up in a landfill. And in New York, there’s a pretty decent chance that the last stop for garbage will be Seneca Meadows.

A brief overview

This massive landfill is the state’s biggest and has long been a sore spot for those who live nearby. Here are some reasons why:

  • The garbage pile is almost 300 feet high
  • Its footprint covers more than 350 acres
  • Locals say it produces a terrible odor

With a height greater than the Statue of Liberty and covering an area about the size of 265 football fields, it’s no wonder that many folks have wanted to see Seneca Meadows shut down. And for a while, it appeared that would be the case.

The site had been scheduled to close by the end of 2025.

Change of plans

Waste Connections, the Texas-based company that owns the landfill, apparently doesn’t want to abandon the gigantic garbage heap. It has petitioned state authorities to allow continued dumping in a 47-acre area between the site’s two biggest mountains.

Doing so would result in piling on enough garbage to fill MetLife Stadium at least 10 times over and would likely keep Seneca Meadows in operation until at least 2040.

Locals say the problem goes beyond a pervasive stench of rotting diapers and decaying meat.

For those living to the east of the enormous mound, the sun actually sets sooner due to the obstruction. Then there’s the traffic congestion caused by the dump trucks constantly visiting the landfill.

But perhaps the worst side effects are health-related. Dust in the air has caused locals to choke and runoff from the waste has even been blamed for contaminating the area’s drinking water.

Chris Agee
Chris Agee September 18th, 2023
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