The ownership of hundreds of acres of land and rights-of-way to support infrastructure needs of the North Country (water, sewer, solid waste disposal) goes hand-in-hand with the responsibility of being a good steward of the resource. The Development Authority has and will continue to maintain its facilities and operations to protect, conserve and enhance the well-being of our communities and our residents.
The Authority takes steps to preserve our natural resources while providing public access to our region’s natural assets wherever possible. Two recreational trails wind through the undisturbed, wooded acres surrounding the regional Materials Management facility in the Town of Rodman, and a third follows the right-of-way for the Army Sewer Line in Calcium. The Glasier Trail, Douglas L. Murray Agricultural Trail and the Kanik Nature Trail are open to the public for year-round non-motorized recreation, free of charge.
The Kanik Trail follows the Army Sewer Line
right-of-way in Calcium and is open for year-round
A variety of wildlife can be encountered along the
Development Authority’s scenic public nature trails.
Partnering with Students
Student groups often visit the Materials Management Facility to learn about waste disposal and recycling. A water quality class at Jefferson Community College in Watertown has been sampling streams both on the landfill site and in the surrounding area for more than 20 years. The sampling gives students hands-on real-world experience in collecting samples, conducting tests and analyzing data. It also provides the Authority with a gauge of the success of its environmental protection efforts. In all the years of sampling, the students have not detected any adverse impacts to aquatic resources from landfill operations.
Students from the SUNY College of Environmental Sciences and Forestry, Ranger School at Wanakena, assisted with the planting of vegetation as part of storm water management system upgrades at the Materials Management Facility. In a single day of experiential learning, 19 students planted over 4,000 wetland plants!
Methane gas is a by-product of the decomposition of waste at a landfill. The gas is collected and contained in wells and the Development Authority, as the owner of the landfill, is required to destroy the methane gas. Traditionally, this is accomplished at landfills through the use of flares that burn the gas. However, the Authority determined that a beneficial reuse of the gas was possible and entered into a partnership with private developer, Aria Energy, to build a plant at the landfill site that would take the methane gas generated by the landfill waste and convert it into electricity that could then be sold to the power grid.
Aria Energy, a company that specializes in renewable energy projects, owns the power plant which has the capacity to generate 6.4 MW of electricity, enough to power about 5,000 homes.
In 2009, the Climate Action Reserve, a national registry for carbon credits, recognized the Development Authority/Aria Energy gas-to-energy project as the first carbon reduction project outside of California to earn carbon credits.
Development Authority’s Sustainability Plan
The Development Authority was established with environmental stewardship as a guiding principle.
The Authority’ environmental policy commits the organization and employees to act as responsible stewards of the environment and to find ways to improve the environment and quality of life for the citizens of Jefferson, Lewis and St. Lawrence counties through planning, design, construction, maintenance and operation of its regional infrastructure. The primary environmental goal is to maintain excellence in environmental protection throughout the Authority’s service area. The key elements of the Authority’s environmental policy are to:
Meet or exceed all environmental regulations applicable to the Authority’s activities;
Integrate environmental protection and enhancement into planning, design, procurement, construction and operations;
Minimize the environmental footprint of the Authority by incorporating the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle) throughout the organization;
Support advancement in environmental protection and sustainability through the use of innovative technologies and;
Leverage the Authority’s existing partnerships to impact regional environmental improvements.
The LEED program (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) sets a nationwide standard for constructing so-called “green” buildings. The Authority’s Warneck Pump Station on Route 37, received LEED certification in 2012 from the U.S. Green Building Council. Obtaining LEED certification requires compliance with a minimum number of criteria affecting many aspects of a project, from site selection to the recycled content of building materials.
LEED-certified buildings are resource efficient. They use less water and energy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. LEED certification provides independent verification of a building’s green features, allowing for the design, construction, operation and maintenance of resource-efficient, high-performing, healthy, cost-effective buildings.