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Talking trash with Colonie

The amount of trash the landfill is allowed to hold is 170,500 tons, a regulation set by the state Department of Environmental Conservation. Currently there is a 12-acre cell that contains a mound of trash, with a new 12-acre cell directly next to it ready to be filled once the proper permits are in place.

There is more space where there are several buildings adjacent to the facility that house landfill equipment where, in the future, Cunningham said a new permit could be sought to expand into those areas.

McGarry said the interesting part about the business of the landfill is that even though they sell trash by the volume, they charge by weight.

"So, the more waste you can get into a unit, volume, the more profitable your operation is, the longer the life of your facility is," McGarry said, adding that if they entered into a private partnership they would be able to take in waste that is lower in volume and higher in density.

"The value of the landfill is not the tonnage, it is the space," said McGarry. "So we'll have an available volume of space left and where it comes down to someone being competitive in a bid, everyone has the same amount of space to work with, but if one competitor says, 'We can get more waste or more value out of that same space,' that's where the competitive advantage hits."

Cunningham soon notes that he experiences vertigo when driving around the top of the mound, jokingly attributing it to McGarry's driving abilities.

At the top, the Corning Tower, the Northway Bridge and the entire facility is in plain sight, a strange view to experience on top of a large pile of trash.

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