ELLERY – A new section of the Chautauqua County landfill opened Wednesday in the Town of Ellery.
The ribbon cutting, which officially opened the new cell of the garbage collection facility, is needed as county officials say the previous cell just recently hit full capacity.
“As you see behind me, the hill is pretty big, and we’re running out of space. So this is a very timely event here to open this new cell and get the garbage in here,” said Brad Bentley, the County’s Director of Public Facilities.
Planning for the new cell, as Bentley explained, began eight years ago, while the construction was a four-year process.
“A lot of effort goes in, this isn’t just a hole where we throw our garbage. It’s pretty technologically advanced and takes a lot of work and effort,” said County Executive PJ Wendell.
A huge concern during the process was the environmental impact the cell would have. This was mitigated by a welded bottom liner designed to contain the garbage within the pile.
The county is also working on a way to take the Methane gas emitted from the landfill, and use it to produce electricity.
Aside from being used to produce energy, the landfill will also be a source of income for the county.
“We really keep the customers’ in resident rates down, we charge 29 dollars and 50 cents a ton of garbage, so any of the commercial haulers that come in, it’s a very attractive rate for the surrounding area,” said Bentley.
Wendel says that not every county runs their own landfill like Chautauqua County does, which helps them make decisions for themselves and keeps costs down.
“The tipping fees here are low and we are able to maintain that low cost due to the fact that you know this is a county run operation and it isn’t something owned by a larger corporation, said Wendel.
The landfill went into operation effective immediately following the ceremony. Bentley estimates that it will take at least 20 years to fill the new cell.