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NEW: Central Landfill Sued for Clean Air Act Violations

Monday, December 16, 2013

 

A citizen suit has been filed in federal court by the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF), against the owners and operators of the Central Landfill in Johnston for violating the Clean Air Act, by allowing polluted landfill gas to escape into the air.

The lawsuit alleges that Rhode Island LFG Genco, LLC, Broadrock Gas Services, LLC, and Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC) have failed to adequately collect gas, have failed to operate gas combustion equipment properly, have violated conditions in existing permits, and have failed to obtain a required operating permit.

As waste breaks down in the Landfill, it produces landfill gas. Landfill gas contains hydrogen sulfide (a toxic air pollutant), volatile organic compounds (a family of gases that includes toxic and hazardous pollutants like benzene and toluene) and methane (a powerful greenhouse gas).

“We have toxic air pollution escaping from the Landfill. It can and should be captured and destroyed," said Tricia K. Jedele, Vice President and Director of CLF’s Rhode Island office. "That isn’t happening and all of these parties are responsible for that failure.”

The lawsuit claims that the owners and operators are not collecting enough landfill gas, and the gas is escaping through the ground without being collected. Jedele said, “Very simply, the gas collection system at the Central Landfill is broken. Among other things, the collection wells are flooded or obstructed.”

CLF also claims that the owners and operators of the landfill illegally burned untreated landfill gas resulting in an increase of sulfur dioxide emissions (which causes respiratory-system damage) and that some of the control equipment used to destroy pollutants in the gas is not being operated properly, resulting in excess emissions of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

“The flares are receiving too much landfill gas and burning it at temperatures too low to destroy the VOCs, so these harmful pollutants are entering the air instead,” said Max Greene, staff attorney in CLF’s Rhode Island office.

Between January 1, 2013 and June 30, 2013, methane gas readings at the Central Landfill violated their legal limit 154 times (sometimes multiple times in the same location), Methane is measured as an indicator for the presence of other air pollutants.

The 37-page complaint was filed in federal district court in Providence, Rhode Island. The listed Defendants have 30 to 60 days to answer the allegations or file dispositive motions.

“CLF’s ultimate goal is to find meaningful and lasting solutions for a significant problem that poses a real threat to public health,” Jedele said.


Related Slideshow:
Providence’s Most Dangerous Neighborhoods

Each week, the Providence Police Department releases its "Weekly Crime Comparison Report" on its website. The breakdown covers how many crimes have occured in the past week, past month, and year to date in each Police District and comparing them with the same time interval from the year prior, reflecting changes in crime rates. GoLocal has distilled the key data points from this weeks report to reflect YTD crime data grouped by general category- violent, property, other, and total. We ranked the districts by 2013 violent crimes to date. For the full report as filed by the PPD, click here

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#9: District 9

College Hill, Wayland Square, Fox Point

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 35

2012: 53

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 597

2012: 630

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 183

2012: 218

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 815

2012: 901

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#8: District 8

Mount Hope, Hope, Blackstone

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 36

2012: 40

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 596

2012: 531

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 226

2012: 212

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 858

2012: 783

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#7: District 3

Reservoir, South Elmwood, Washington Park

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 63

2012: 67

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 443

2012: 452

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 311

2012: 305

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 817

2012: 824

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#6: District 1

Downtown

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 79

2012: 94

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1116

2012: 1118

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 563

2012: 580

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1758

2012: 1792

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#5: District 6

Mount Pleasant, Manton, Elmhurst

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 128

2012: 116

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 829

2012: 885

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 531

2012: 559

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1488

2012: 1560

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#4: District 7

Charles, Wanskuck, Smith Hill

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 172

2012: 183

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1143

2012: 1092

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 784

2012: 813

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 2099

2012: 2088

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#3: District 4

Federal Hill, West End

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 173

2012: 188

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1082

2012: 1085

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 755

2012: 919

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 2010

2012: 2192

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#2: District 5

Olneyville, Silver Lake, Hartford

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 206

2012: 189

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 911

2012: 865

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 758

2012: 724

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1875

2012: 1778

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#1: District 2

Upper South Providence, Lower South Providence, Elmwood

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 213

2012: 188

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 966

2012: 964

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 841

2012: 910

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 2020

2012: 2062

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Citywide

Violent Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 1121

2012: 1135

Property Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 7738

2012: 7714

Other Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 5017

2012: 5296

Total Crimes Reported (YTD)

2013: 13876

2012: 14145

 
 

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