Local Newspaper 'DEC Cites Palenville Composting Facility
April 9, 2017
Here is a local newspaper article written about this experience. To explain just a couple issues written in this article. The landfill owner was only permitted by the DEC to accept leaves, and grass. This property has No Town, or County permits, and still no violations from the local municipality for operating the 3 businesses he had been operating illegally for nearly 10 years, which he still continues to operate to this day. Even after it's been noted by the Town of Catskill that all 3 of his businesses are not even zoned for this area? There is no permit as a Solid Waste Facility, or to operate as a Landfill. It amazes me that a businessman can dump tons, and tons of illegally transported toxic debris, dumped into protected wetlands, created major health impacts on neighboring families, and innocent children, with only a fine of $2000.00, and with only removing a very small portion of the illegally dumped debris? The rest of the Illegally transported toxic debris still remains into the water of our NYS/Nationally protected wetlands rotting away down into the waters. Also when the landfill owner removed a portion of the debris, he only brought the toxic debris uphill, dumped still onsite, just closer to the family homes? It amazes me that in these articles, it shows how many of our representatives have been aware of this toxic property, and it's still operating. These deadly toxins are still present in our Protected Wetlands killing all the vegetation in its path, all the aquatic life in the protected waters, our endangered wildlife, and the neighboring families lives impacted by dangerous health ailments? I believe It's a disgrace to them all.
This reporter wrote a few more articles on this situation until we heard of a legit rumor, the reporter was visited by the old Town of Catskill Supervisor Joseph Leggio, and the Town Attorney Michael Smith, and has not written another article since. Also the reporter has since retired?
This link below is to the Newspaper article, or the article is enclosed below:
DEC cites Palenville composting facility By Jim Planck Columbia-Greene Media | Posted: Wednesday, March 25, 2015 12:00 am
Palenville composting facility This Google Maps image of the Frederick Edwards III composting facility in Palenville shows the placement of the windrows, as well as the bank sloping down to the wetland. DEC says illegal materials must be removed from the bank and that a buffer must be maintained. PALENVILLE — NYS Department of Environmental Conservation has accepted a signed Order on Consent from Palenville composting facility operator Frederick A. Edwards III to remediate illegally placed fill affecting a wetland. Edwards is registered with the department to operate a facility that can accept between 3,000 to 10,000 cubic yards of yard waste per year at 2869 State Route 23A, just west of the hamlet, and which property abuts a surface water and wetland at its rear. The March 9, 2015, consent order states that an on-site inspection conducted about a year and a half ago, on Aug. 19, 2013, by department personnel found that he “had dumped fill consisting primarily of dirt, brick, cinder block, asphalt, concrete, wood chips and stone, over the slope down to and into the wetland,” and adds that such is a violation of state regulations. It notes that NYS Environmental Conservation Law provides a civil penalty of up to $11,000 for each violation, and that, in the current case, $2,000 must be paid up front with the signing of the consent order — which it was — while the other $9,000 “shall be suspended so long as respondent (Edwards) shall comply with the schedule of compliance.” That schedule calls for all fill material to be graded back to create a stable slope away from the wetland boundary by June 15, 2015, including an erosion control barrier at the base of the slope, with the specification “that compost leachate does not enter the wetlands and all stormwater is managed on site.” It also calls for all removed material to be placed upland, outside of the wetland, or transported off-site. After the slopes have been stabilized, the area within 100 feet of the wetland has to be covered with at least six inches of topsoil, noting that “on-site processed compost may be utilized in the restoration efforts” — and then seeded, by June 30, after which that area is to be “allowed to revert back to natural vegetation” and remain undisturbed. Edwards has also been cited in a much more recent on-site inspection, conducted on Jan. 7, 2015, but which does not seem, however, to be referenced in the March 9 consent order. That inspection report denotes, first, that a required 200-foot setback from the pond is not being maintained, secondly that some construction and demolition debris — which is exempt at its location — included, however, small amounts of non-exempt material such as plastic bags, and thirdly, that there is other construction and demolition material, stated as wood and siding, which is partially buried next to the maintenance garage, where it is not exempt. The second inspection report’s cover letter to Edwards, however, does address remediation of those items, stating, “As we discussed during the inspection, you agreed to remove the C&D, as well as any miscellaneous non-exempt materials along the exempt fill area.” “In addition,” it adds, “all compost windrows and processing areas must be moved to satisfy the (200-foot) setback requirement.” “These violations,” it states, “must be corrected by May 1, 2015,” a much earlier date than the June 15 and June 30 consent order timeline for the 2013 inspection report. Meanwhile, both Edwards’ facility and DEC’s handling of a neighbor’s concerns that the water quality of the wetlands and pond have been compromised by Edwards’ operation are coming under in-house departmental scrutiny. Neighbor Stella Martin has for some time expressed concern to DEC, as well as to other agencies, including the NYS Department of Health, U. S. Army Corps of Engineers, and U. S. Environmental Protection Agency, that Edwards has allegedly been filling in the wetland with materials that are putting such things as lead in the water. DEC has, in fact, conducted several site visits to look into that and related concerns, and the on-site inspection reports are apparently the outcome. However, Martin also alleges that there was a conflict-of-interest in one or more of those early visits, in that the inspector has a “history,” she says, with an Edwards employee, adding that one complaint was not looked into until two months had passed. She has accordingly asked help from public officials, including sending an email to NYS Governor Andrew M. Cuomo, whose office, in turn, directed DEC Region 4 Director Keith Goertz to look into the matter. Goertz accordingly wrote to Martin on Feb. 18, informing her, “Governor Cuomo has asked me to respond to your recent email regarding potential contamination of wetlands in Palenville.” “Numerous staff from (DEC) have been to the property ... to investigate your concerns,” Goertz said. “At this time,” he added, “an enforcement action regarding the unpermitted filling of a wetland is ongoing” -- this is in reference to the Feb. 10 Notice of Violation, that was later the subject of the March 9 consent order. Of the conflict-of-interest complaint, Goertz said, “Please note that your complaints regarding department personnel have been referred to the Office of Internal Audit and Investigation.” Martin also contacted Assemblyman Pete Lopez on the matter, and Lopez, too, in a March 6 letter asked Goertz to look into it, noting that he wants to maintain a dialogue with Goertz’ office while the matter is explored. “Ms. Martin came to me in December of 2014,” wrote Lopez, “claiming her neighbor, Mr. Fred Edwards III, has been dumping debris and other unnatural materials near her property.” “She advised that, after making the Department aware of the situation, she was assigned a DEC enforcement officer,” he said, “who she claims had a friendship with Mr. Edwards prior to being assigned this case.” Lopez said that as a result of that understanding, Martin is concerned that “Mr. Edwards’ issue may not have been treated objectively by the enforcing officer.” Referencing the consent order, Lopez also noted, “It troubles Ms. Martin greatly that the order focuses on the location of the debris, and not the contents of the debris, he is allegedly dumping on the property.” “Ms. Martin believes DEC should do an investigation into the types of fill being dumped on the land,” he said, “and that the order of consent should be pursued to preserve the wetlands.” Martin also asked Congressman Chris Gibson to assist with her concerns, who communicated them to the appropriate Washington-based office of EPA on her behalf. “Ms. Martin alleges that her neighbor is contaminating, polluting and illegally filling in New York Protected Waterways and Nationally Protected Wetlands in Palenville, New York,” Gibson wrote. “Ms. Martin feels this has been insufficiently addressed by (NYS DEC),” he said, “and would like additional assistance resolving this matter.” “As this is a matter of great importance to my constituent,” Gibson said, “I would appreciate it if you would review the enclosures and provide her with appropriate information, with regard to the contamination, pollution and filling of this land.” As in any ongoing matter at any investigative or law enforcement agency, the Office of Internal Audit and Investigation cannot yet comment on their efforts. To reach reporter Jim Planck, call 518-943-2100, ext. 3324, or e-mail