Downstate Debris in Local Landfills Calls for Restrictions

Construction work debris from downstate and New Jersey has allegedly been dumped in Ulster County, urging officials to potentially sign a new law prohibiting the use of landfills from work outside of Ulster County.

Chapter 304 of Ulster County Code is the law in which legislators state what is allowed to be dumped in Ulster County dump sites, and what is forbidden. It was created in 1976 as a way to protect Ulster dump sites and the land they sit on.

The law currently prohibits the dumping of debris, also known as refuse, from companies and work sites outside of Ulster County because “existing refuse disposal sites within the County are becoming seriously depleted and that such depletion results in a significant hazard to the health, safety and welfare of the residents of the County.”

According to Hudson Valley One, “District 8 Legislator Laura Petit, D-Port Ewen, said she authored the local law in response to Joe Karolys’ controversial C&D waste dumping operation in Saugerties.” However, due to the vague nature of the legislation, officials were “unable to stop the daily parade of debris-dumping trucks coming in from downstate.” 

It has been proposed to amend this chapter to clarify and expand the definition of refuse to include a more accurate description of what is prohibited. The current definition by the County is “garbage, rubbish, industrial waste and dredge material,” which allows for gray area in what is allowed to be dumped.

The amendment to the code would expand the definition of prohibited refuse to “concrete, brick, asphalt, asbestos, drywall, plaster, roofing materials, wood, metal, tiles, paint chips, ash, slag, coal, pieces of particle board, carpet and petroleum-contaminated soil.” 

On Sept. 17, officials will decide if the chapter ought to be amended to further prevent refuse from outside Ulster County from being dumped in county disposal sites.