Arbor Hills Landfill was issued a major violation on Aug. 31, 2018 for failing to control odors. This is the second citation for violating federal environmental laws this year.
The Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality conducted an investigation on Aug. 23, 2018 after receiving odor complaints. The complaints started at 7 a.m. and continued until after 10 p.m. The 30 odor descriptions varied from rubber burning to raw sewage to rotten eggs to pungent trash.
Our sources say the nasty odors likely resulted from the 200 tons of Detroit sewage sludge that Arbor Hills Landfill accepted shortly before this incident.
The Air Quality Division staff detected “a distinct and definite objectionable landfill garbage odor in the residential area on the south side of Napier Road downwind of the facility,” according to the violation notice.
Through the time of their inspection on Aug. 23, MDEQ had received nearly 900 odor complaints regarding Arbor Hills Landfill in 2018, according to the violation notice.
Stop Arbor Hills launched The Odor Report earlier this year to track and report nuisance odors. The number of odor reporters and reports increased dramatically with the single system and process. Arbor Hills Landfill received 522 odor complaints in 2016 and 280 in 2017. As of Sept. 17, more than 1,000 odor complaints have been submitted this year.
“In response to complaints, DEQ staff has conducted numerous on-site inspections and complaint investigations in the immediate area,” says the violation notice. “This recent observation of landfill garbage odors in violation of Rule 901 and Rule 433(1)(c), indicates additional measures are needed to reduce odors from the landfill.”
The dump’s owner, Advanced Disposal Services (ADS), must send a response to this violation notice by Sept. 24, 2018. The response is supposed to include steps to fix ongoing odor issues. The last time the dump received a 901 violation, on Feb. 6, 2018, they denied responsibility and blamed developers in lieu of providing a comprehensive remediation plan.
Odor consultant RK & Associates is still conducting odor evaluations. Read odor evaluations
Advanced Disposal Services claims it has spent $8 million improving its gas collection system but the company has not shown documentation confirming this. Read the gas collection system construction update from Advanced Disposal Services.
Even after all of the violations and 1,000+ odor complaints in 2018 alone, the operators of Arbor Hills Landfill still maintain they are going to expand.
The MDEQ has published an action summary from May-Aug. 2018. Read the summary