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Time for Waste Management Inc. to pay up

The Pennsylvania state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) has awarded Waste Management Inc. a pretty hefty fine for its solid waste violations.

The DEP is fining the company $528,000 for solid waste violations for three landfills Waste Management owns and operates in Bucks County, Pennsylvania.  The DEP is fining Waste Management for odor nuisance violations at the Tullytown Landfill, along with leachate storage violations at the company’s GROWS, GROWS North and Tullytown landfills.  Each of the three landfills are owned and operated by subsidiaries of the company.

According to the DEP’s press release, “The $528,000 Consent Assessment of Civil Penalty is to resolve penalty liability related to the frequent and recurring offsite odor nuisances experienced by Florence, New Jersey residents, related to operations at the Tullytown Landfill, as well as leachate storage violations that occurred at all three of the landfills,  located in lower Bucks County.”

Leachate, typically from precipitation, is a liquid that has permeated or drained through solid waste and is required to be treated onsite or delivered to a treatment facility.

The DEP’s Southeast Regional Director Cosmo Servidio commented on the violations:

We received and verified complaints regarding offsite odors from Tullytown Landfill throughout a period from September 2014 through May 2015, despite efforts undertaken by the operator in an attempt to control and minimize their occurrence … The number and persistence of the offsite odors warranted a civil penalty.  In addition, Waste Management, Inc. was assessed a penalty for the storage of excessive amounts of leachate for unacceptable durations throughout the period of January 2013 through May 2015 at all three landfills. The storage violations resulted from Waste Management, Inc.’s inability to manage the leachate generated by the three landfills by its approved leachate treatment methods and necessitated the hauling of leachate to offsite treatment facilities in order to come into compliance.

Recently, the DEP renewed Waste Management’s Tullytown Landfill’s solid waste permit for a two year period.  Once the permit is expired, the landfill must stop all waste disposal operations and close down the facility.  According to the DEP, “Public concerns regarding odor, noise, bird and aesthetic nuisances, received primarily from New Jersey residents, were a significant factor in the DEP decision to limit waste disposal operations to no more than two years, said Servidio. GROWS North Landfill is permitted to receive waste until February 2019, at which time it will cease waste disposal operations and properly close.  GROWS Landfill has been closed for several years and no longer accepts waste.”

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