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April 9, 2015

NW Iowa Solid Waste Agency Pays $100,000 to Settle DNR Lawsuit over Illegal Sheldon Landfill Dumping

Court-approved penalty & requirements resolve 2013 state environmental lawsuit

(ORANGE CITY, Iowa) The Northwest Iowa Area Solid Waste Agency (NIASWA) has paid a $100,000 civil penalty for illegally dumping waste into its landfill near Sheldon.

In an order called a consent decree, Third Judicial District Chief Judge Duane E. Hoffmeyer Wednesday approved the payment to resolve a lawsuit filed in 2013 by Attorney General Tom Miller on behalf of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The lawsuit alleged that for approximately six months beginning in November 2011, the agency illegally dumped 300,000 tons of solid waste into the Northwest Iowa Area Sanitary Landfill. According to the lawsuit, the agency deposited solid waste into unapproved landfill cells with no liner or leachate collection system, as required by state law.

The lawsuit also alleged that the agency began constructing two cells without first obtaining required state permits from the Iowa Department of Natural Resources.

The Northwest Iowa Area Solid Waste Agency, which is ultimately responsible for complying with state environmental laws and regulations, asserted that the agency relied on advice and direction from licensed civil engineer Elliot D. Waddell, owner of Five States Engineering PC of Westfield. According to the agency, Waddell and his company represented to the agency that the landfill was in compliance.

In addition to the penalty, the consent decree requires the agency to take certain actions by November 30, 2017 in landfill areas that were not in compliance. Those actions include installing interim final closure caps, adding soil and vegetation, and installing a final cover system designed to minimize infiltration and erosion.

On March 13, 2014 the agency obtained a $100,000 default judgment against Waddell and Five States Engineering.

On July 11, 2013, the Iowa Engineering and Land Surveying Examining Board reprimanded Waddell for failing to include all relevant and pertinent information in reports submitted to a governmental agency. The board ordered Waddell to complete an engineering ethics course.

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