For Immediate Release
MADIGAN REACHES INTERIM AGREEMENT WITH HILLSIDE LANDFILL OWNER TO STOP RELEASE OF NOXIOUS ODORS
LANDFILL GAS ODORS ALLEGEDLY ARE CAUSING NEIGHBORS TO BE SICK
Chicago – Attorney General Lisa Madigan today announced that her office has reached an agreement with the owners of a Hillside landfill to take immediate action to curb the release of harmful gases. The landfill is located within a densely populated residential area, next to the Eisenhower Expressway, near the Hillside Holiday Inn Expo and Conference Center and an assisted living facility for senior citizens.
Madigan said her office on Thursday, January 26, reached an Agreed Preliminary Injunction and Order with the owner of the landfill, Congress Development Company (CDC), to begin taking steps to install a modified gas collection system at the site to alleviate the release of noxious gas from the landfill.
“The noxious fumes being emitted at the Hillside landfill are making neighbors sick and threatening the local environment,” Madigan said. “Illinois law requires that pollution control measures be taken to avoid these dangerous emissions at landfills and this agreement will require that the owners of the Hillside landfill take steps toward compliance with state laws.”
Neighbors of the landfill, located at 4100 W. Frontage Road, in Hillside, reported to the Illinois Environmental Protection Agency (IEPA) that noxious odors were being released from the landfill, causing people in the area to get sick. Subsequent inspections by the IEPA concluded that methane gas fumes were being emitted and resulted in strong odors. The IEPA then referred the case to Madigan’s office on January 12, 2006.
On Friday, January 20, Madigan filed a Complaint and Motion for Preliminary Injunction in Cook County Circuit Court. The filings named as defendants, CDC, Jay A. Steinberg, as Chapter 7 trustee for the estate of Resource Technology Corporation (RTC), and Harry Henderson, as Receiver.
According to the lawsuit, the defendants have failed to adequately operate and maintain the landfill’s methane gas collection system in violation of the Illinois Environmental Protection Act.
Methane gas is created from waste that degrades in landfills. The gas is required to be managed using collection systems. Without proper management and maintenance, the methane gas can escape into the environment. The odor is very unpleasant and, under the right circumstances, methane gas can be explosive.
The landfill is owned and operated by CDC, but the gas collection system at the landfill is owned and operated by RTC. Because RTC is currently in bankruptcy, those proceedings have hampered the current landfill owners and operators’ ability to upgrade the methane gas collection system.
Madigan’s lawsuit seeks to stop the odors by forcing the owners of both the landfill and its gas collection system to comply with their IEPA permit requirements and install new equipment to prevent the further release of gas. In addition, Madigan’s lawsuit asks the court to access a civil penalty of $50,000 for each violation of the Act and an additional penalty of $10,000 for each day of violation.
The matter is set for status in Cook County Circuit Court for all of the defendants on February 28, 2006.Assistant Attorneys General Vanessa Vail and Christopher Grant are handling the case for Madigan’s Environmental Bureau.