Casella Waste System gives $20,000 Grant to Chemung River Friends

Updated: Aug 18


Chemung River Friends

Contact: Jim Pfiffer, director May 18, 2020

(607) 846-2242 or (607) 331-3953

Casella Waste Systems gives $20,000 grant to Chemung River Friends

Chemung River Friends recently received a $20,000 grant from Casella Waste Systems, Inc., the company that operates the Chemung County Landfill.

“River Friends has seen continued cuts in our municipal funding, and we expect to see additional losses and memberships due to the coronavirus,” said River Friends Executive Director Jim Pfiffer. “The Casella grant allows us to continue providing river-related environmental programs, projects and recreation.”

The grant renews an on-going partnership between River Friends and Casella. From 2009 through 2018, Casella gave a $20,000 annual grant to River Friends. The funding was part of an agreement that Casella had with Chemung County, which owns the landfill. The agreement expired in 2018, Pfiffer said.

As part of the new collaboration, River Friends will develop public education programs and tours of the landfill to educate the public about responsible trash disposal, recycling and landfill operations.

A better public understanding of landfill operations and recycling can encourage the public to improve its recycling and responsible waste disposal, Pfiffer said.

“We realize that there are some people who are uncomfortable with landfills,” Pfiffer said. “We have researched, visited and toured the facility; and met with landfill officials to learn about its operations and environmental safeguards. We talked with New York State Department of Environmental Conservation officials, who regulate the facility, and we believe that the landfill is safe, a necessary part of how we manage resources and protect the environment, public health and safety.”

“Protecting the environment is a team effort that requires the commitment and expertise of many different organizations, from those managing our waste and recycling infrastructure to volunteers dedicated to stewardship of water and wildlife resources,” said Larry Shilling, landfill manager for Casella Waste Systems. “We’re delighted, once again, to partner with and support the work of Chemung River Friends.”

In addition, the landfill is regularly visited by a third-party environmental monitoring firm that uses test wells and other measures to monitor the site’s environmental integrity.

“We’re watchdogs and stewards of the environment,” Pfiffer said. “That’s the foundation of our mission. Casella officials are aware of our environmental responsibilities. We’re eager to work with Casella to ensure the safety of the landfill, and the protection of the environment.”

Over the last 11 years, River Friends has removed more than 13 tons of litter, garbage and illegal dumpsites in and along our rivers, streams and trails, Pfiffer said. That debris was taken to the landfill.

The landfill covers 437-acres, with 75 of those acres used for disposal, Shilling said. The landfill was built and run by Chemung County until 2005, when the county contracted with Casella to run the facility. That contract expires in 2035, said Shilling.

The partnership provides an unexpected benefit.

“When we toured the facility, we discovered that it attracts numerous bald eagles, gulls and other birds in search of food scraps,” Pfiffer said. “We plan to do public bird-watching visits and site tours.”

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