News > News > Safeguard Drinking Water > Riverkeeper Sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Stop the Town of Hunter from Discharging Pollution into Schoharie Creek

Riverkeeper Sends Notice of Intent to Sue to Stop the Town of Hunter from Discharging Pollution into Schoharie Creek

For Immediate Release
December 4, 2015

Contact: Cliff Weathers, Communications Director
914-478-4501, ext. 239
[email protected]

“Hunter’s landfill leachate treatment system must be upgraded to preserve a critical drinking water source and fishery,” says New York’s clean water advocate. “Six years of violations of the Clean Water Act must come to an end.”

Greene County, NY — For the past six years, the Town of Hunter landfill located on Hylan Road in Tannersville has failed to fully treat its polluted leachate, or rainwater that has passed through the landfill and become contaminated by its contents. Riverkeeper, represented by the Pace Environmental Litigation Clinic, sent a formal Notice of Intent to Sue the Town for the landfill’s pollution discharges to Schoharie Creek. The untreated and contaminated leachate carries heavy metals, ammonia and other contaminants into the Schoharie, a crucial water body that over 9 million New York City and Hudson Valley residents depend on for drinking water. Schoharie Creek is also a popular picnicking and swimming destination and supports a heavily stocked trout fishery.

Hunter’s landfill leachate system is allowed to discharge pollutants in accordance with the parameters of its Clean Water Act permit, but it has repeatedly exceeded its numerical limits for a variety of pollutants, including ammonia, biological oxygen demand (the amount of oxygen required to decompose organic matter in the water), copper, dissolved oxygen, iron, lead, manganese, suspended solids, and zinc. Moreover, it has often exceeded limits for flow volume, in some instances discharging over ten times the permitted limit, which dilutes the mixture and thwarts attempts to monitor the constituents of the outfall.

Riverkeeper appreciates the steps that Hunter has taken to treat the leachate through its system of six controlled wetlands, but that system has proven insufficient to fully treat the leachate and now needs to be upgraded or replaced. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is aware of the problems at the landfill, and we look forward to working with the Department and the Town of Hunter to implement a solution that will safeguard the health of the many local folks that enjoy Schoharie Creek as well downstream consumers of the water.

The Clean Water Act allows citizens like Riverkeeper to seek judicial intervention to enforce the Act’s pollution prevention goals, and mandates that citizens provide notice to the violator at least sixty days before doing so, thereby giving the violator a chance to come into compliance. In issuing this notice of intent, Riverkeeper encourages Hunter to take swift action to cease its unpermitted discharges prior to a lawsuit.


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