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STATE ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY REVIEW ACT

DRAFT SCOPE
Town of Colonie Landfill, Proposed Area 7 Development
Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS)

Name of Action: Proposed Area 7 Development


SEQR Status: Type 1

Lead Agency: New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC)

I.

DESCRIPTION OF PROPOSED PROJECT

Background
The Town of Colonie owns and maintains permits for the operation of the Town of Colonie
Landfill Facility. The Town of Colonie Landfill is located between U.S. Route 9 and the CohoesCrescent Road in the northeast portion of Albany County, New York. The facility is currently
operated by Capital Region Landfills, Inc. under contract with the Town of Colonie.
The Town has proposed to undertake a Project involving the further development of its existing
solid waste management facility (the Proposed Area 7 Development) as identified in the
NYSDEC-approved Town of Colonie Solid Waste Management Plan (2007-2008 Solid Waste
Management Plan Update, December 2009). This Draft Scoping Document has been prepared
in accordance with the regulations of the NYSDEC set forth at 6 NYCRR (Codes, Rules and
Regulations of the State of New York) Part 617, which implement the State Environmental
Quality Review (SEQR) Act. This Draft Scoping Document outlines the topics and analyses of the
potential environmental impacts of the Towns proposed Project.
The Draft Scoping Document will describe the Proposed Area 7 Development Project, identify
any potentially significant adverse impacts, describe the extent and quality of information
needed to address each impact, identify possible mitigation measures, and describe reasonable
alternatives to be considered. The scoping process allows the scope of the Draft Environmental
Impact Statement (DEIS) to be focused on the relevant environmental impacts to the
environmental conditions and resources that may be affected by the Project and to eliminate
irrelevant impacts or issues and to eliminate or de-emphasize non-significant impacts.
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SEQR Act Status


SEQR establishes a process for the consideration of environmental factors in the planning
stages of discretionary actions that are directly undertaken, funded, or approved by local,
regional, and state agencies. SEQR requires an analysis of the range of potential significant
adverse environmental impacts of a proposed action and how those impacts can be avoided or
minimized.
The Town of Colonie completed Part 1 of a Full Environmental Assessment Form (EAF) for the
proposed project dated March 11, 2014 and the EAF was submitted to the NYSDEC. NYSDEC
distributed a SEQR Lead Agency Coordination letter dated April 30, 2014 indicating its desire to
act as Lead Agency.
Project Summary
The proposed Project will involve the development of Area 7 of the existing Town of Colonie
Landfill which operates under NYSDEC Solid Waste Management Permit #4-0126-00033/00001.
The landfill development, which will provide continued waste capacity beyond the currently
permitted life, is proposed to continue to function as outlined in the Town of Colonie Solid
Waste Management Plan.
In all, the area of Project activities is anticipated to comprise approximately 112 acres on an
approximately 200 acre site. The Project is a proposed horizontal and vertical landfill
development generally to the north and west of the active landfill operations of the existing
landfill. The preliminary area of proposed liner construction (subject to completion of
engineering report and the Part 360 application) is anticipated to be approximately 58 acres
(approximately 25 acres will be new waste footprint with the balance of new liner to be
constructed over existing Areas 1-4 waste footprint), with an additional approximately 16 acres
of vertical landfill development over the existing Areas 5 and 6. The Project will also involve the
removal of the existing leachate storage lagoons and replacement with tanks and will involve
the relocation of the facility entrance.

II.

POTENTIAL IMPACTS AND MITIGATION

An EAF was prepared to determine the potential significance of the Project impacts. Based on
this initial analysis, the following scope is provided for consideration.
A.
Topography, Geology & Soils
Existing Conditions: The Project site is an existing operating landfill. The majority of the
development area will be on historically disturbed areas or former landfill areas. The elevation
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outside of the footprint of existing waste placement ranges from 190 to 330 feet above mean
sea level (msl) and the existing permitted peak elevation within the waste placement footprint
at closure is 430 feet above msl. The topography of the area surrounding the landfill can be
described as rolling hills within the Mohawk River valley. The bedrock underlying the site
consists of shales and graywackes of the Austin Glen Formation. Overlying bedrock are
overburden glacial deposits consisting of glaciolacustrine silts and clays and glacial till deposits.
On the eastern edge of the site alluvium deposits are present.
Potential Impact: Erosion and sedimentation are potential impacts that can occur when ground
is disturbed for construction. This is particularly problematic when sediment-laden runoff from
a project site reaches aquatic resources such as streams, rivers, lakes, ponds and wetlands.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: A Site Investigation Report will be
completed in support of the landfill design which will present detailed information regarding
the site geology. The substantive findings in the Site Investigation Report will be summarized in
the DEIS.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: The DEIS will identify areas that are most
susceptible to erosion and stabilization issues and will describe anticipated measures to be
implemented during construction phases to minimize soil transport and deposition. A
Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan (SWPPP) is in place for current facility operations and
construction. Prior to commencement of Area 7 construction activities, the SWPPP will be
modified to include erosion and sedimentation controls which will be implemented to prevent
erosion and sedimentation problems related to the construction and operation of the further
landfill development.
B.
Surface Water Resources
Existing Conditions: Surface water at the site generally flows directly or through perimeter
swales to eastern portions of the site and ultimately to the Mohawk River. In addition, surface
water from along Route 9 and west of Route 9 flow onto the northwest portion of the site
where it merges with site storm water and discharges as described above. Stormwater
discharges from the existing landfill are regulated by NYSDEC permit. Leachate storage lagoons
are present at the northeast portion of the site, but these do not discharge to surface water
(collected leachate is pumped to a sanitary sewer for off-site treatment).
Potential Impact: The Proposed Area 7 Development will provide additional stormwater
treatment capacity, which will improve the quality of stormwater discharges from the site.
Construction activities have the potential to create impacts from erosion and sedimentation.

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Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: Hydrologic modeling will be


completed to evaluate stormwater flows during construction and from the operational and
constructed landfill. The modeling and resulting stormwater controls will be summarized in the
DEIS.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: Erosion and sedimentation controls will be
implemented to prevent erosion and sedimentation impacts during and after construction.
Stormwater discharges from construction activities will be subject to the requirements of a
NYSDEC permit (MSGP for Industrial Stormwater Discharges). Additional stormwater treatment
capacity will be provided by the proposed Project, improving the quality of stormwater
discharges from the site. The removal of the existing leachate storage lagoons and replacement
with covered leachate storage facilities in the southeast portion of the site will reduce potential
impacts to surface water quality related to leachate storage.
C.
Groundwater Resources
Existing Conditions: The groundwater in the vicinity of the existing landfill has been impacted by
historical waste placement. Site-specific geology is not consistent with aquifer materials.
Groundwater flow across the site is generally to the east. Leachate storage lagoons are
present at the northeast portion of the site, but these do not discharge to groundwater
(collected leachate is pumped to a sanitary sewer for off-site treatment).
Potential Impact: Landfill operations generate leachate from the exposure of waste (within
both active areas as well as closed cells) to rain and snowfall. This leachate has the potential to
leach into groundwater beneath the landfilled waste or due to accidental releases from the
leachate storage lagoons. The DEIS will evaluate methods to protect contamination of the
groundwater from the landfill operations.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: A Site Investigation Report will be
completed in support of the landfill design which will present detailed information regarding
the site hydrogeology.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: The Proposed Area 7 Development will
incorporate baseliner systems meeting the requirements of NYSDECs current Part 360
regulations to mitigate potential impacts to groundwater quality. The removal of the existing
leachate storage lagoons and replacement with leachate storage tanks and secondary
containment in the southeast portion of the site will reduce potential impacts to groundwater
quality related to leachate storage.

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D.
Terrestrial Resources
Existing Conditions: The Proposed Area 7 Development will be on an existing landfill site. The
majority of the footprint of the project overlies areas already developed as landfill. Other areas
proposed for development include existing solid waste facility buildings and pavement,
leachate storage lagoons, a sedimentation basin, mowed grass areas and a small area of
deciduous growth. Federal wetlands are located on the landfill property. NYSDEC-regulated
wetlands (a portion of the 27.6 acre TN-10) are located in the eastern portion of the landfill
property.
Potential Impact: A small wooded area exists within the Proposed Area 7 Development area;
however, this area does not have unique ecological properties. The remaining areas proposed
for development are already developed, largely as part of the existing solid waste management
facility.
The landfill property contains State and Federal wetland areas and the boundaries of the
wetland areas that may be impacted by the Proposed Area 7 Development will be fully
delineated and mapped.
Initial wetland mapping indicates that the proposed Area 7 Development could impact
approximately 2 acres of federal wetlands and some portions of the buffer areas of the stateregulated wetlands could be affected by the Proposed Area 7 Development.
Wetland impacts and work within buffer areas will be subject to USACE and NYSDEC review,
approval and permitting.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: Potential on-site mitigation areas
were determined not to be feasible due to prior development, existing wetland areas and land
constraints. After consultation with USACE and NYSDEC, off-site mitigation within the
watershed was determined to be necessary. The DEIS will contain information related to the
construction of a wetland mitigation project on Town of Colonie property along the Mohawk
River west of the landfill site. Wetland impacts and mitigation will be subject to USACE and
NYSDEC review, approval and permitting.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: The wetland and buffer area impacts and the
mitigation project will be completed in accordance with permits issued by the USACE and
NYSDEC.
E.
Wildlife Resources
Existing Conditions: The Proposed Area 7 Development will be on an existing landfill site. The
majority of the footprint of the project overlies areas already developed as landfill and support
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facilities with relatively low habitat value. A bald eagle nesting area is located west of Route 9
on the Mohawk River.
Potential Impact: A small wooded area exists within the Proposed Area 7 Development area.
The remaining areas proposed for development are already developed, largely as part of the
existing solid waste management facility.
The ecological value of the wooded and open space areas of the landfill will be evaluated for
their habitat value and the potential impact that the development of these areas may have on
bald eagles, and other threatened or endangered species which may be using these areas as
part of their habitat will be evaluated in the DEIS.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: The DEIS will present a detailed
description of wildlife resources within the Proposed Area 7 Development Area and will include
an evaluation of the potential impact to the bald eagle.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: None anticipated.
F.
Land Use and Community Character
Existing Conditions: The existing Land Use is the Town of Colonie Landfill. Community character
can be described as highway commercial along U.S. Route 9 (west of the landfill), vacant along
Cohoes-Crescent Road (east of the landfill), and industrial (south of the landfill). Residential
uses are present southwest of the Landfill property and a new development (including both
commercial and residential uses) is under construction west of U.S. Route 9 from the southern
portions of the existing landfill. Beyond the Mohawk River to the north and east are the Towns
of Halfmoon and Waterford. These communities include industrial, commercial, recreational
and residential uses. The site lies near the National Heritage Corridor (Erie Canalway), the
National Scenic Byway (Mohawk Towpath Byway).
Potential Impact: The community impacts presented by landfills are primarily noise, odor, visual
impact, and truck traffic, although the Proposed Area 7 Development represents a general
continuation of existing uses within the footprint of the existing landfill operations and there
are no plans to modify landfill operational parameters. Each of these potential operational
impacts is discussed in a separate section below and will be discussed in the DEIS. No other
impacts to Land Use and Community Character are anticipated related to the Proposed Area 7
Development.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: As described below, the DEIS will
present an evaluation of noise, odor, visual impact, and truck traffic related to the, Proposed
Area 7 Development.
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Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: As described below, the DEIS will present an
evaluation of noise, odor, visual impact, and truck traffic related to the, Proposed Area 7
Development.
G.
Visual Resource
Existing Conditions: The topography of the area surrounding the landfill would be described as
rolling hills in a river valley. The landfill is, therefore, consistent with the surrounding landscape.
The existing landfill is a significant component of the landscape as viewed from Route 9 and
from areas to the east of the site (across the Mohawk River in Saratoga County) and that has
been the case for several decades as the landfill has been developed.
Potential Impact: Potential visual impacts in areas in proximity to the landfill will be evaluated
as described below. The visual character of the Proposed Area 7 Development is anticipated to
be consistent with the character of the existing permitted landfill (i.e., vegetated and
operational areas upon a significant topographical feature within the Mohawk River valley).
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: To document that the character of
surrounding views of the Proposed Area 7 Development will be consistent with the currently
permitted landfill development, the DEIS will present photo-enhancements from five
perspectives to illustrate the future view toward the landfill from the following locations:

Route 9, North of Crescent Bridge;


West of Route 9 South of the Crescent Bridge
West of Route 9 South of Arrowhead Drive
East of the Mohawk River near Towpath Lane in the Town of Waterford; and
East of the Mohawk River at Canal Park in the Town of Waterford

The view from each perspective location will be enhanced to illustrate the currently permitted
landfill geometry at full development. A second enhancement will be prepared to illustrate the
Proposed Area 7 Development at full development for comparison. The two enhancements for
each perspective location will be compared and differences discussed.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: Appropriate mitigation measures will be identified
to address both the short-term and long-term impacts to the visual character of the
surrounding area. The landfill operations will be designed to the extent practicable to minimize
impact on the immediate area.

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H.
Traffic
Existing Conditions: The existing entrance and exit to the landfill is on U.S. Route 9 and is not
signalized and there is a limited line of sight on U.S. Route 9. Currently, landfill- related traffic
includes residents of the Town of Colonie, landfill employees and contractors, and commercial
trucks transporting waste and materials to the landfill.
Potential Impact: The Proposed Area 7 Development does not include any change to existing
permitted design capacity and therefore, operational traffic (i.e., trip generation) is not
expected to change. However, as part of the Proposed Area 7 Development, the existing
landfill entrance will be relocated to Arrowhead Lane. Access to this new entrance will be from
the signalized intersection of U.S. Route 9 and Fonda Road to Green Mountain Drive to
Arrowhead Lane. Landfill-related traffic will be directed to these roads, which are not now used
by landfill-related traffic.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: A Traffic Impact Study will be
presented in the DEIS to evaluate the significance of the proposed entrance relocation.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: Mitigation would be proposed if required, based
on the results of the Traffic Impact Study.
I.
Air Quality
Existing Conditions: Emissions from the landfill are currently authorized under a permit issued
by NYSDEC to the Town of Colonie. An active gas collection system is currently in place, and the
collected gases are used to generate energy and any excess gas is burned in a flare. Measures
are in place to control dust associated with landfill roads and operations. Innovative Energy
Systems, Inc. (IES) leases an area in the southeast portion of the landfill property and operates
the electrical generating station utilizing landfill gas to produce electricity. The emissions from
IES generator engines are authorized under a separate permit issued by NYSDEC to IES.
Potential Impact: The Proposed Area 7 Development will not increase landfill gas production
beyond the permitted capacity of the current control devices, therefore, no impact (i.e.,
increase in potential emissions) is anticipated. At this time, no modification to the current air
permit is anticipated for the Proposed Area 7 Development.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: The DEIS will present a projection of
landfill gas generation by the landfill including the Proposed Area 7 Development to confirm
that the existing control devices have adequate permitted capacity to manage the projected
quantity of landfill gas.

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Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: The landfill will continue to operate in compliance
with its air permit. IES will continue to operate under the requirements of its air permit.
J.
Odor Control
Existing Conditions: An active gas collection system is currently in place, and the collected gases
are used to generate energy and any excess gas is burned in a flare. The landfill currently
employs several odor control measures including an odor neutralizer in the vicinity of the
existing leachate lagoons, active collection and combustion of landfill gas, and focused
placement of landfill cover. Composting activities which had been the source of some prior
odor issues have recently ceased at the landfill site.
Under an emergency authorization, the landfill accepted debris resulting from Hurricane Sandy
in late 2012 and early 2013. The waste was placed in a relatively new area of the landfill which
was not required to have an active landfill gas collection system in place yet. Due to the nature
of the material (i.e., high moisture and high proportion of waste drywall) unexpectedly rapid
degradation began soon after placement and the resulting landfill gas was particularly odorous.
This resulted in off-site odors being identified in August 2013. Landfill gas collectors were
installed in this area and connected to the landfill gas collection system in September 2013.
The response was immediately effective in controlling odors from the Hurricane Sandy debris.
Maintenance of the active landfill gas collection system (including those added to respond to
the odors related to the Hurricane Sandy debris) to collect and treat landfill gas has proven to
be an effective odor control measure. In 2014 (through July) there have been five odor
complaints received. One was related to the leachate lagoons and was corrected within two
hours. The other four odor complaints were not detected upon investigation and were
therefore considered unconfirmed, transient conditions.
Potential Impact: The DEIS will present a summary of the landfills recent odor complaint
statistics and will review recent odor-related operational issues and responses (i.e., Hurricane
Sandy debris, compost odors, and leachate lagoon odors). Existing odor measures will be
continued throughout the operational period of the Proposed Area 7 Development and odors
are not expected to increase beyond those of current permitted activities. The Proposed Area
7 Development will include the replacement of the current open-air leachate lagoons with
covered tanks to prevent odors from leachate storage and the need for odor neutralizers in the
vicinity of the lagoons.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: The DEIS will present a summary of
the landfills recent odor complaint statistics and will review recent odor-related operational
issues and responses (e.g., Hurricane Sandy debris, compost odors, leachate lagoon odors, etc.).

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Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: The landfill will continue to operate in compliance
with its air permit. The landfill will continue active landfill gas collection and control as well as
operational measures to control dust and odor.
K.
Noise
Existing Conditions: In the vicinity of the landfill, the noise environment is characterized by
traffic related noise along U.S. Route 9. The majority of noise produced by the landfill comes
from truck traffic and heavy equipment including dump trucks, loaders, dozers and compactors.
Potential Impact: Noise sources will be consistent with current conditions. Reasonable
measures (smart backup alarms, properly maintained mufflers, working within the perimeter
berms) to reduce noise impacts will be employed by the facility. Projected sound levels
associated with the Proposed Area 7 Development will be assessed for the nearest residential
receptors, and these will be compared to the existing noise levels.
Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: Projected sound levels associated
with the Proposed Area 7 Development will be assessed for the nearest residential receptors,
and these will be compared to the existing noise levels in accordance with the Part 360
Regulations and the NYSDEC Program Policy Assessing and Mitigating Noise Impacts.
Ambient noise levels will be determined at locations surrounding the landfill, including one
location east of the Mohawk River from the landfill. Projected noise levels resulting from
ambient levels in conjunction with operations of the Proposed Area 7 Development during its
various development stages will be evaluated.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: The landfill will continue to employ reasonable
measures (smart backup alarms, properly maintained mufflers, working within the perimeter
berms) to reduce noise impacts.
L.
Cultural Resources
Existing Conditions: Much of the project development will occur on areas that are already
impacted by waste placement or landfill development. A Phase IA Literature Search/Sensitivity
Assessment and Phase IB Archaeological Survey for the area of the Proposed Area 7
Development will be presented in the DEIS. The DEIS will present a summary of any
archaeologically and historically sensitive areas in the vicinity of the development area.
Potential Impact: The DEIS will present a summary of any archaeologically and historically
sensitive areas in the vicinity of the development area.

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Anticipated Information Necessary to Address the Impact: A Phase IA Literature


Search/Sensitivity Assessment and Phase IB Archaeological Survey for the area of the Proposed
Area 7 Development will be presented in the DEIS.
Initial Identification of Mitigation Measures: Any mitigation would be based on the results of
the A Phase IA Literature Search/Sensitivity Assessment and Phase IB Archaeological Survey.

III.

REASONABLE ALTERNATIVES

The alternatives analysis section of the DEIS will discuss a reasonable range of alternatives to
the Proposed Area 7 Development that would achieve the same objective as the proposed
project. This analysis will include different site development alternatives, the use of alternative
waste management technologies, a no action alternative, and the siting of a new landfill
location within the region. A relative cost comparison of the alternatives, will be provided in the
DEIS. This alternatives analysis will include an evaluation of the need for the proposed landfill
development, including an analysis of its economic feasibility in comparison to other potentially
appropriate long-term disposal options. Consideration of both the adverse and beneficial
consequences for each alternative listed below will be discussed in the DEIS. The following
alternatives and their benefits and disadvantages will be considered and discussed.
A.
No-Action
The alternative of not further developing the current landfill will be deemed the no-action
alternative. The discussion of this alternative in the DEIS will include an examination of
potential economic effects that would result from the closure of the Town of Colonie Landfill
once the current designed disposal capacity is exhausted. Potential impacts of this alternative
related to the exportation of waste to other existing disposal locations, include increased fuel
consumption and an increase in air contaminant emissions.
B.
Alternative Technologies
The development of alternative waste management technologies will also be included in the
DEIS as a project alternative. Waste management alternatives such as Refuse Derived Fuel
technologies, pyrolysis, hydrolysis, biogasification, mixed waste composting, and waste-toenergy technologies will be described and their effectiveness and ease of implementation will
be discussed in the DEIS. Alternative waste disposal technologies, such as mass burn waste-toenergy technologies, would not eliminate the need for solid waste disposal capacity. A portion
of the waste stream would remain to be landfilled as bypass wastes or process residues. Many
of these alternative technologies are still in the development stages; regardless, the feasibility
and concerns associated with each technology will be examined in the DEIS.
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C.
Alternative Development Scenarios
The current NYSDEC-approved Town of Colonie Solid Waste Management Plan (2007-2008 Solid
Waste Management Plan Update, December 2009) anticipated the design of Area 7 in 2014.
Therefore, alternative on-site development scenarios were developed and evaluated in the
early stages of the planning the Proposed Area 7 Development. Environmental, economic, and
logistical considerations were analyzed for each alternative to determine the practicability and
feasibility of implementing each option. In addition to the Proposed Area 7 Development, the
other development alternatives that will be discussed in the DEIS include:

IV.

Eastern Development
Southern Development
Northern Development

OTHER DEIS COMPONENTS

A.

Executive Summary

B.

Cumulative Impacts

C.

Unavoidable Adverse Impacts that Cannot be Mitigated

D.

Growth-Inducing Impacts

E.

Irreversible and Irretrievable Commitment of Resources

F.

References

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G.

Appendices
Phase IA Literature Search/Sensitivity Assessment and Phase IB Archaeological Survey,
Curtin Archaeological Consulting, Inc.
Traffic Impact Study, SIMCO Engineering, P.C.
Visual Impact Assessment, Saratoga Associates, Landscape Architects, Architects,
Engineers, and Planners, P.C.
Wetland Delineation Report, Bagdon Environmental, a Division of Novus Engineering,
P.C.
Bald Eagle Surveys Summary Report, Bagdon Environmental, a Division of Novus
Engineering, P.C.

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