Suits allege violations at a now-closed Des Moines landfill for construction and demolition waste, and at three dump sites around the state.
Des Moines. Attorney General Tom Miller has filed four lawsuits alleging environmental law violations at three separate dump sites around the state, and at a now-closed Des Moines landfill for construction and demolition waste near Euclid Avenue and the Des Moines River. The dump sites are in Lyon, Jefferson and Washington Counties.
“All four suits seek to enforce state environmental laws and regulations,” Miller said. “These are basic rules designed to protect our land and air and water, and people’s health and safety.”
The lawsuits, which were filed Tuesday in Polk, Lyon, Jefferson and Washington County district courts, ask each court to assess civil penalties, order cleanup, and prohibit further violations.
The Polk County lawsuit against Landfill of Des Moines, Inc., and Steve Corell alleges that the defendants have violated numerous requirements for maintaining the site after the site closed in 1998. For example, the suit alleges that the defendants have failed to submit required annual water quality monitoring reports since 2001, have inadequate fencing between the site and the adjacent Sycamore Bike Trail by the Des Moines River, and have left large areas devoid of vegetation and other areas damaged by unauthorized recreational vehicle activity and erosion.
The Lyon County lawsuit names Harold and Sharon DeVos and alleges violations at their appliance “de-manufacturing” facility located in the unincorporated village of Edna, near Rock Rapids. Alleged violations include open burning of solid waste, failure to clean up illegally dumped solid waste, de-manufacturing of appliances without a permit, failure to obtain a stormwater discharge permit, and failure to submit and implement a pollution prevention plan.
The Washington County suit names Albert C. Miller and alleges violations on his property in Kalona involving illegal disposal and open burning of solid waste, including wood, insulation, shingles, metal, tires, gypsum board, vinyl flooring, and mobile homes. The suit alleges numerous incidents of open burning by Miller since as early as 1995 and as recently as August 2006, with many incidents documented by the Washington County Sheriff’s Office as well as the Iowa DNR.
The Jefferson County suit names Robert Miller and alleges violations at his metal salvage operation in Batavia. The violations involve open dumping and open burning of discarded appliances, metal, waste tires, treated and untreated lumber, garbage, appliances, and furniture. The suit also alleges de-manufacturing of appliances without a permit, operation of a salvage facility without a stormwater discharge permit, and failure to submit and implement a pollution prevention plan. The suit alleges that the Batavia Fire Department has had to respond to four illegal fires at the site, including two fires in May 2006.
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Additional information about the lawsuit vs. Landfill of Des Moines and Steve Corell:
Landfill of Des Moines, Inc., and Steve Corell operated the now-closed landfill for construction and demolition waste known as Central Construction & Demolition Recycling Site #4, located at 1801 Euclid Avenue in Des Moines (the site is on the north side of Euclid, close to the Des Moines River.) The Landfill of Des Moines corporation was dissolved in August 2006. Steve Corell is president of Landfill of Des Moines, Inc., and is designated the “Responsible Official” in the Sanitary Disposal Project Permit issued in 1998 for closure of the landfill.
The Sanitary Disposal Project Permit, or closure permit, No. 77-SDP-12-79C:
The SDP Permit for closure of the landfill was issued by the Iowa DNR on Jan. 22, 1998. The permit imposes numerous requirements for a period of thirty years, and names Steve Corell as the responsible official.
Alleged violations. The lawsuit alleged violations involving numerous issues, including:
- An inspection in 2003 revealed that the west fence was in need of repair, and two entrances from a bike/walking path needed to be sealed off to prevent people from entering the landfill.
- Inspections in 2004, 2005, and 2006 revealed that:
- No required annual water quality reports had been submitted to the DNR since 2001.
- No required semi-annual engineer’s inspection reports had been submitted to the DNR since 2001.
- Inspection, maintenance, monitoring and reporting activities required in the closure/post-closure plan were not being implemented.
- Large areas were devoid of vegetation, and erosion gullies had developed that needed repair and re-seeding.
- Ponding of water was occurring below the access road near the perimeter fence at the bottom of the west slope, near the bike trail.
- Dikes, berms, and terraces had been damaged by unauthorized recreational vehicle activity and by erosion due to lack of maintenance of vegetative cover.
- A thick cover of roughly-ground-up asphalt shingles was in place on the access road despite the fact that no records had been submitted to the DNR that testing had been done on the shingles to verify that they contained no more than one-percent asbestos.
- The perimeter fence consisted of inadequate temporary fencing, and several portions of the fence along the west side between the bike trail and the site had been pulled down, allowing unauthorized access to the site by recreational vehicles, resulting in significant denuding of vegetative cover.
- Required signage was absent from the site.
The lawsuit seeks civil penalties and a court order against further violations.