A proposed class action lawsuit aims to take Waste Management Inc. of Florida to task for the Medley Landfill’s alleged release of “substantial and unreasonable noxious odors” into the surrounding community.
The Doral, Florida resident behind the 23-page lawsuit says the odors released by the 170-acre landfill have damaged proposed class members’ properties through “nuisance, negligence and gross negligence.”
According to the complaint, Waste Management Inc. of Florida is the exclusive manager, controller and operator of the Medley Landfill, a site that accepts thousands of tons of waste on average per day. As the lawsuit tells it, residents of neighborhoods surrounding the landfill—which they refer to as “Mount Trashmore”—have had to contend with odorous and offensive gas created as a byproduct of the general decomposition of waste occurring at the site.
Per the suit, the gas released by the Medley Landfill is comprised of hydrogen sulfide, which resembles a rotten egg smell, and methane and carbon dioxide, among various other compounds.
The lawsuit argues that a “properly constructed, operated, maintained, and managed” landfill would have no issue with gases escaping into the ambient air as “fugitive emissions.” The gas problems at the Medely Landfill are the result of a host of failures on the part of Waste Management Inc., the complaint alleges:
“Defendant has failed to adequately collect, capture, and destroy landfill gas generated at the Landfill to prevent fugitive emissions and to otherwise prevent noxious odors, gases, and/or particulates from the Landfill from invading the homes and property of Plaintiff and the Class.
Defendant has failed to sufficiently collect, capture, and destroy leachate generated at the Landfill to prevent landfill gas collection wells from becoming ‘watered in’ including by utilizing adequate drainage systems.
Plaintiff’s property has been and continues to be physically invaded by noxious odors which originated from the Landfill.”
According to the lawsuit, the Medley Landfill has been the subject of numerous complaints from local residents and media reports outlining that the smell interferes with public and private activities.
“More than 60 households have contacted Plaintiff’s counsel documenting the odors they attribute to the Landfill,” the case says, with the plaintiff noting “[w]e are not able to sit outside our terrace. We are not able to enjoy cookouts with family and friends. We refrain from cooking on the grill."
In all, the case charges the odors emitted by the Medley Landfill have unreasonably interfered with the plaintiff’s ability to use and enjoy her property and have reduced the property’s overall value.
The lawsuit, filed March 19 and removed to federal court on August 5, looks to represent those who live within the following geographic area:
“Beginning at the interchange from the Ronald Reagan Turnpike (a/k/a Homestead Extension of Florida’s Turnpike, SR 821) to Beacon Station Boulevard; East on Beacon Station Boulevard to the intersection of Beacon Street Boulevard and N. Okeechobee Road (a/k/a US 27); Straight traveling Northeast on Hialeah Gardens Boulevard to W 68th Street; East on W 68th Street to the Palmetto Expressway (a/k/a SR 826); South on Palmetto Expressway to 58th Street; West on 58th Street to the Ronald Reagan Turnpike; North on Ronald Reagan Turnpike to starting point at intersection/interchange of the Ronald Reagan Turnpike and Beacon Street Boulevard. (Ex. 1, Class Boundary Map).”
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