CBS Detroit – For years, residents of Northville have complained against the odors emanating from the Arbor Hills landfill in Salem Township. Last Friday, Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel said she has filed litigation against Advanced Disposal Services (ADS), the landfill owner, which according to Hometown Life, has had about 30 odor-related violations over the past five years.

The Arbor Hills landfill located at Six Mile and Napier roads, towers over Northville as one of the highest points in the area and has become a “stinking” point to those who have to endure the smells emanating from the site. Along with the truck traffic that congests residents in Plymouth. Nessel said the lawsuit was filed on behalf of the Michigan Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE) in Ingham County Circuit Court.

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At a press conference, Nessel said “The violations have contributed to nuisance odors that have plagued nearby residents for far too long,” Nessel said. “People in this area have had to endure the stench emanating from the landfill for years, leaving them to suffer from nausea, headaches, and sore throats. This problem must stop.”

Nessel also said ADS has had a blatant disregard for the community and concerns by the state. The lawsuit alleges ADS has failed to install an adequate collection and control system to capture gasses generated at the landfill and control leachate issues, as reported by The Detroit News. As solid waste decomposes, various gasses are released that include hydrogen sulfide and methane. Hydrogen sulfide is the main contributor to the smells that have residents mad, but methane is flammable and can pose a safety issue if it isn’t properly taken care of.

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The landfill is lined with a double liner to collect liquids from waste, rainwater, and other sources. If the leachate isn’t controlled, the liner they say could break, and contaminates could leak into nearby Johnson Creek and affect the area’s water and groundwater. Johnson Creek feeds the middle branch of the Rouge River. Some residents around the landfill are on well and septic systems for their homes as well.

EGLE Director Liesl Clark told The Detroit News, “Our goal is to ensure Arbor Hills Landfill is not a nuisance to neighbors, and that the facility operates safely in compliance with state and federal laws for air quality and waste management,”.

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The lawsuit claims ADS has said it would fix the problems but hasn’t acted. Both EGLE and the EPA have investigated and found the gaseous emissions to be at fault for the odors. According to Nessel, if ADS is found to be at fault for non-compliance with Michigan’s environmental laws, they could face fines in the six-figures. If they continue to not comply after that, she said the landfill could be shut down.

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According to Advanced Disposal’s website, the landfill accepts municipal solid waste, construction and demolition debris, yard waste, inert waste, sludge, wastewater biosolids, friable and non-friable asbestos, industrial waste, foundry sand, ash, and contaminated soil. The landfill has been in operation since 1991 with an expansion in 2009. It accepts waste from Michigan and surrounding states as well as Advanced Disposal subsidiaries and third parties. Prior to 2018, it has accepted up to 1.2 million cubic yards of Canadian waste (according to EGLE).


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Charlie Forbes

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