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Organic Consumers Association

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Controversy Hovers Over Perinton Landfill

John Koharski and his family moved into a two-story home in Perinton's Whitebrook neighborhood in 1983, and he loved it.

Back then, Koharski said, the current site of the High Acres landfill was little more than a field of dirt. But by the time the family moved away in 2006, he said, strong odors regularly came from the site.

Concerned about what he says were unhealthy gas emissions from the landfill, Koharski moved to Honeoye Falls. He also filed a lawsuit against landfill operator Waste Management Inc., alleging that the company improperly disposes of waste and is an environmental detriment.

Koharski said he doubts his lawsuit will close the landfill but he thinks legal action is necessary to document its operations and better inform the public.

"Just ask anybody if they want to have a landfill in their back yard," he said. "What's the long-term effect?"

Depending on whom you ask, the High Acres Landfill and Recycling Center is either a great community partner or a threat to the environment and neighbors' quality of life.

The 1,000-acre site has baseball fields where the Fairport Little League has played for 13 years. A 250-acre wildlife habitat with nature trails and a pesticide-free pollinator garden for butterflies, birds and other animals is currently under construction, and High Acres has been accredited by the Wildlife Habitat Council, a nonprofit group that includes both corporations and environmental organizations.

But the business of High Acres is the cause of contention among some residents.

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