Thousands of plastic bags blew out of the landfill into the countryside

SENECA — Thousands of plastic bags escaped the Ontario County landfill after last week’s storm broke fencing. High winds that ripped through took out one side of 40-foot-high net fencing, said Canadice Town Supervisor Kris Singer, who heads a committee overseeing landfill operations.

Crews couldn’t do much in the extreme wind but have since worked on fixing the fence and cleanup, Singer said.

Tom Harvey, director of Ontario County Planning, said crews installed a temporary fix Tuesday to the fence and have ordered new netting. The landfill operator is Casella Waste Systems Inc.

“They tried to stay on top of it,” Harvey said, adding they were initially hampered by persistent high winds and extreme cold. They are also using equipment and manpower to clean up the area, he said.

Photos submitted to the Messenger by Justin Roeland show the bags infesting trees and surrounding woods on Post Farm Road just south of Routes 5 and 20 in Stanley. Roeland said the photos were taken Tuesday. Roeland said in an email he contracted the state Department of Environmental Conservation.

“They’ve advised me that they have issued a notice of violation (no indication of penalty or fine) to the landfill and that the issue was being addressed at an upcoming meeting in Avon with DEC staff.”

No one was available at the DEC Wednesday to respond.

“The pollution, as you can see, is as far into the woods as the eye can see and no amount of labor can possibly recover all this plastic from the environment,” stated Roeland. He added he is staying in contact with the DEC and seeking more information, calling the situation “truly disgusting and careless.”