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MADISON -- Brown County will have to pay between $50,000 and $75,000 for air pollution violations associated with the County's operation of gas collection systems at two closed landfills. The Wisconsin Department of Justice (DOJ) settled the case in Dane County Circuit Court.
According to the complaint filed at the request of the Department of Natural Resources (DNR), Brown County owns two closed landfills, the East Landfill in the Town of Ledgeview, which accepted waste from 1976 through 2003; and the West Landfill in the Village of Hobart, which accepted waste from 1977 through 1996. These landfills generate and -- without proper collection practices -- emit landfill gases, including methane, volatile organic compounds, and hazardous air pollutants.
Brown County has permits from the DNR that require it to operate gas extraction, collection and destruction systems at the landfills. The complaint alleges violations of a number of these requirements over the past two years.
Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Brown County will pay penalties totaling $75,000 for the violations. However, the penalties will be reduced to $50,000 if the County has, by May 1, 2009, implemented a DNR approved landfill gas recovery project under which it captures -- for energy production -- at least 75% of the gas generated at the landfills.
"With proper adherence to DNR permits, landfills can be regulated to prevent the emission of dangerous airborne pollutants," Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said. "To ensure the observance of this important environmental protection law written to protect Wisconsin citizens, DOJ will continue to work with DNR in its enforcement mission."
The settlement was approved on August 27, 2007, by Dane County Circuit Court Judge Diane Nicks. Assistant Attorney General Shari Eggleson represented the state.