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Landfill Sued for Clean Air Violations

RIRRC and two separate companies that operate at the landfill are named in the Conservation Law Foundation's lawsuit.

RIRRC. Patch file photo
RIRRC. Patch file photo
The Conservation Law Foundation has file a lawsuit against the Central Landfill in Johnston for violations of the clean air act.

In its filing, CLF charged the owners and operators of the facility with violating emission standards under federal law by venting raw, untreated landfill gas directly to the atmosphere. 

The lawsuit claims the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation, LFG Genco, and Broadrock Gas Services 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." CLF is aiming to hold the facility owners accountable for controlling regulated pollutants from the landfill, including methane, volatile organic compounds and hydrogen sulfide. The aw group also claims the landfill has also been operating for 16 years without a permit required by the Clean Air Act.

“We have toxic air pollution escaping from the Landfill. It can and should be captured and destroyed. That isn’t happening and all of these parties are responsible for that failure,” CLF Vice President Tricia K. Jedele said in a release. “Very simply, the gas collection system at the Central Landfill is broken. Among other things, the collection wells are flooded or obstructed.”

RIRRC Executive Director Michael O'Connell said most of the claims in the lawsuit are aimed specifically at Broadrock, the company responsible for capturing landfill gases and converting them to electricity. O'Connell said he's unaware of a Clean Air Act permit violation but that he would look into it.

Broadrock Spokesman Bill Fischer declined to comment specifically on the lawsuit while the company reviews the filing. 

In a follow-up email, Fischer wrote, "Broadrock has made a substantial commitment to Rhode Island by investing in and developing one of the most technologically advanced landfill gas to energy facilities in the country. The new facility efficiently converts landfill gas to clean renewable electricity. Broadrock's continued long-term commitment to the state of Rhode Island began nearly 20 years ago."


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