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Republic Services Settles State Environmental Lawsuit For $250,000


ST. FRANCIS – Republic Services of Wisconsin has agreed to pay $250,000 to settle state claims under Wisconsin's air pollution and solid waste management laws for violations at the Kestrel Hawk Landfill in Racine and the Mallard Ridge Recycling and Disposal Facility in Delavan, Wisconsin.


The complaint states that Kestrel Hawk and Mallard Ridge each operates a landfill gas collection system, and landfill gas generated by the decomposition of waste is flared on site or sold off site as boiler fuel or fuel for a turbine generator. The Department of Natural Resources regulates the non-methane organic compounds in the landfill gas. Non-methane organic compounds contain volatile organic compounds and hazardous air pollutants, including benzene and vinyl chloride. Volatile organic compounds contribute to the formation of ozone, which can be harmful to human health.


Under Wisconsin law, Republic Services is required to obtain and follow air pollution control permits that control the emissions of air pollutants from the facilities. Wisconsin law also requires that Republic Services follow its landfill plans of operation.


According to the complaint, at the Kestrel Hawk and Mallard Ridge facilities in 2008 and 2009, Republic Services violated the facilities' air pollution control permits when it vented landfill gas when a flame was not present and failed to shut down valves within one hour resulting in the release of uncontrolled landfill gas emissions to the atmosphere, failed timely to notify the Department of Natural Resources of the flame outages, and failed to keep the gas system running smoothly and effectively. At the Kestrel Hawk facility in 2008, Republic Services also violated the facility's landfill plan of operation when it failed to seed the intermediate cover, failed to clean and maintain storm water drainage ditches and structures, and failed to properly train landfill personnel conducting load inspections.


In 2004, Republic Services had settled another environmental lawsuit with the Wisconsin Department of Justice for $475,000.


"Republic Services worked cooperatively with the Department of Natural Resources to take the steps necessary to ensure future compliance with permit and plan approval requirements," said Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen. "The Wisconsin Department of Justice will continue to work with the DNR to ensure that Wisconsin's citizens and natural resources are protected through compliance with the law."


Assistant Attorney General JoAnne F. Kloppenburg prosecuted the case. Dane County Circuit Court Judge Patrick Fiedler approved the settlement on November 8, 2010.