Photo: Stephanie Davis / WWJ

Arbor Hills Landfill In Northville Being Sued Over Odors, Violations

Residents have been complaining of awful odors.

April 16, 2019 - 11:05 pm

NORTHVILLE, Mich. (WWJ) -- Residents turned out in large numbers Tuesday night to voice their complaints with a local landfill.

Those living in Northville have been complaining of a strong odor coming from the Arbor Hills Landfill, which has been plagued with problems dating back to 2016. Residents are saying they're concerned about the air quality.

Tracey Birkenhauer of the Conservancy Initiative announced the Initiative is filing a notice of intent to sue Advanced Disposal Services and the adjacent landfill gas energy plant owned by Arbor Hills Energy LLC; a subsidiary of the Fortistar Methane Group.

"So we’re bringing the hammer down. It’s happening," Birkenhauer said.

Birkenhauer called the landfill "a hot mess."

In early 2016, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality began receiving the odor complaints from residents living near the landfill. In a press release, the MDEQ says it immediately engaged with the Landfill's operators to address these odor concerns.

A post on the Stop Arbor Hills Facebook page says there were 41 odor complaints in a two-day span last fall.

"Fugitive emissions of landfill gas were found to be the source of most of the odors. The MDEQ and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency conducted investigations of the landfill. Based on these investigations, the MDEQ has issued multiple violations to the landfill for failures to properly operate the landfill and the gas collection and control system," the release said.

The MDEQ has continued to conduct on-site inspections and are odor evaluations at the landfill. The department released a list of more than a dozen actions they have taken against the landfill in the last six months, including several violation notices.

The department says it received a response from the landfill to an early February violation notice outlining all the measures being taken to fix improperly operating flares at the site, but the MDEQ says the problem has yet to be resolved.

It was not clear for how much money the Conservancy Initiative plans to sue the company.