Category Archives: Media

WXYZ reports high SO2 at Arbor Hills Landfill

ODOR CONCERNS

One of the most common, ongoing, issues at the Arbor Hills Landfill are the odor concerns. ADS notes that landfills will never be able to fully eliminate odors, but after a recent violation notice filed by MDEQ ADS responded saying that they have assigned a full-time compost manager to oversee the yard waste operations. According to responses from ADS, there are ongoing issues with what’s known as a “flare” which is needed to burn off excess methane gas when it can’t go to the energy plant that burns it to power up to 10,000 nearby homes.

This means that when the energy plant isn’t capable of burning the gases put out by the landfill, the flare doesn’t have the capacity to burn the excess gases.

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SO2 CONCERNS

An ongoing concern at Arbor Hills has to do with the amount of sulfur dioxide that is going into the air. In a violation dated February 1, MDEQ notes that ADS is attempting to get permission from the EPA to increase the limit of SO2 it discharges. The EPA sets limits for the amount of SO2 that can be discharged because it can cause coughing, throat irritation and breathing difficulties for some people — especially those that are sensitive to air quality such as people with asthma. High concentrations of SO2 can affect lung function.

According to ADS, the sulfur dioxide problems stem from Fortistar — a second company that operates the gas-to-energy plant that burns methane gases that are collected at the landfill. ADS is simultaneously working on back-up systems (the flare) which was described in the “odor concerns” section above.

LEACHATE CONCERNS

A recent violation cited ADS for having too much leachate on-site. Leachate is essentially the “garbage juices” that come off landfill sites. Landfills are supposed to keep the amount in specific areas within allowable levels/amounts. Since the violation, 7 Action News has been told, that ADS is working to extract and discharge leachate in a way that is MDEQ compliant — they note that the issue was with a specific section of the landfill, not the entirety of the facility.

Arbor Hills compost too smelly for Detroit

Quote taken from NPR article about Detroit composting sent to Arbor Hills in Salem Twp., Washtenaw County

Compost is too smelly for the city of Detroit so they send it to Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township, Washtenaw County. Children at the two schools flanking the composting facility get to suck on the ammonium nitrate fumes as do residents in the hundreds of homes around the dirty dump and its smelly compost operation.

NPR published a story about Detroit’s yard waste on Aug. 13, 2018. CurisiD: Where does Detroit’s yard waste go?

So far this year, Detroit has sent 6,300 tons of yard waste to Advanced Disposal’s Salem Township composting site on the north side of 6 Mile Road. Plymouth, Salem and Northville residents have submitted over 1,000 odor complaints this year as of Aug. 14, 2018.

See maps below to see just how close the two elementary schools are to the smelly compost operation.

Salem Elementary in Washtenaw County is 1 mile west of Arbor Hills Landfill’s compost operation that’s too smelly for Detroit

Ridge Wood Elementary in Wayne County is nearly 1 mile east of Arbor Hills Landfill’s smelly compost operation in Washtenaw County

Gas system in the news

The Northville Record highlighted some of the issues with the gas collection system at Arbor Hills Landfill. Once again, the dump fails to take responsibility for its actions. Our president commented on Advanced Disposal’s expansion plans but those statements didn’t make it into the article.

Arbor Hills landfill owner tries to eliminate nasty odors
Northville Record, Aug. 10, 2018

The gas collection system upgrades are in response to our hard work that led to many Clean Air Act violations and an EPA consent order. The consent order details the work the dump must do to remediate  noxious gas odors.

Washtenaw County’s dump neglected the gas system for years, which contributed to the massive pollution situation that forces families inside when they should be out enjoying their yards, community parks and school play grounds.

Thanks to everyone who has helped us #stopthedump!

Meeting coverage in Northville Record

The Northville Record covered the Oct. 24  meeting between Stop Arbor Hills and Advanced Disposal.

Residents pledge to stop Arbor Hills expansion – Oct. 25, 2016 – Northville Record

Videos from the event

Dr. Sara Hashemian describes her concerns about the Arbor Hills Landfill

This video captures the moment when it is revealed that Arbor Hills is already one of the largest landfills in the country – most of us didn’t realize that.

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Court battle ensues over who’s responsible for landfill odor

SALEM TOWNSHIP — Something stinks around the Arbor Hills Landfill, but no one “nose” who’s responsible for controlling the smell.

Neighbors near the landfill have been complaining about the smell coming from the site, but the two companies involved in controlling the property and the gas collection system are at odds over who should be held accountable for the odor.

Advanced Disposal, the Florida-based company that owns the Arbor Hills Landfill at 10690 Six Mile Road filed a motion last week against Phoenix-based Republic Services asking Republic to comply with a judgment issued in February by the Washtenaw County Circuit.

An arbitration court ruled in December that Advanced was not responsible for gas collection and control system, which is owned by Republic.

“Our number one priority has been to address the landfill gas odors impacting our neighbors around the landfill. All other alternatives to force Republic Services to comply with their contractual obligations have been unsuccessful,” said Dave Lavender, east region vice president of Advanced in a press release.

Lavender went on to say that his company has been working with the state and local municipalities to resolve the issue.

In its motion, Advanced asked the court to enter a court order that would set specific actions and dates by which they must be achieved that would require Republic to control the gas and the odors.

Russ Knocke, a spokesman for Allied/BFI (a division of Republic) says the company is prepared to fight claims that their system is to blame for the smell.

“The court will also be informed, as can be seen from the Motion itself, there is nothing in Advanced’s Motion or elsewhere establishing a link between the odors noticed by the facility’s neighbors and the gas collection and control system owned by Allied and BFI,” Knocke said in a statement.

He went on to say that Advanced is required by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to maintain the landfill properly in order to prevent the odors being released. None of those operations are the responsibility of Republic, Knocke said.

Republic says it first learned about the odors in January and began working to determine their systems were not to blame for the smell. The company also accelerated scheduled work on the systems where wells were replaced or improved ahead of schedule, Knocke said.

“The undisputable truth is that no one—not Allied, BFI, Advanced or the MDEQ—knows yet what caused the odors, or if there were multiple causes of some or all of the odors,” Knocke said.

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