In response to lawsuit, the owner of Tri-City Regional Landfill faults lack of response to actions as partly responsible for problems with odor and water-runoff control.

PETERSBURG - The owner of the Tri-City Regional Landfill is denying all of the environmental claims levied against it in a state lawsuit, saying that the state partially is to blame for not responding to the company’s inquiries in a timely manner.

CFS Group Disposal and Recycling Services LLC filed its answer to the Oct. 25 lawsuit Tuesday in Petersburg Circuit Court.

In its defense, CFS asserted that it has complied with all requests made by the state to control the odor and water runoff coming from the Puddledock Road site. The state attorney general and state Department of Environmental Quality, the plaintiffs in the case, claim CFS has repeatedly ignored directives to control the water systems and cap the landfill in a way that will control odor release -- a longstanding complaint of residents living near the site.

“CFS affirmatively asserts that Plaintiffs’ failure to timely respond to CFS’s submittals has contributed to the allegations made in the complaint,” said the response, filed by Andrea Wortzel of the Richmond-based Troutman Sanders law firm.

The company also disputes the fines requested by the state -- $32,500 per day for each violation cited in an August order sent by DEQ from the date the violations were first reported to the date that each violation was corrected, plus a per-day civil penalty of $32,500.

“Plaintiffs are precluded from reasserting those violations, as they have been fully resolved and remedied,” the response said.

Among the violations cited in the lawsuit are claims that the permitted waste pile height had been exceeded, the proper storm water control systems were not in place, and exposed waste and water had not been properly covered. The suit also claims that the landfill owners, CFS Group Disposal & Recycling Services Inc., repeatedly failed to correct the violations in a timely manner.

The suit, filed in Petersburg Circuit Court, asks to have CFS compelled to correct the violations. It also asks the court to force CFS to pay a fine. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that CFS failed to:

• Comply with Solid Waste Permit conditions regarding slope and elevation and continuing to place waste in areas of the landfill where those areas had already exceeded the final elevation;

• Adequately maintain the landfill’s stormwater control systems, including allowing drains to become clogged, resulting in a breach of the landfill’s containment area and causing a runnel at the landfill to flood;

• Maintain adequate daily cover, including allowing an approximately 15,000-square-foot area of waste to remain uncovered for a week;

• Maintain a stockpile of at least three days’ worth of acceptable cover soil or other approved cover material at all times for use as daily cover of waste.

The case is expected to be heard in the spring of 2019.

Meanwhile, a DEQ spokeswoman confirmed Tuesday that the department has begun the process of revoking CFS’s solid-waste permit, which could result in the landfill shutting down within the next year.

CFS is owned by Georgia-based Meridian Waste Services.

The landfill is the subject of a town-hall meeting Friday night in Petersburg hosted by state Sen. Rosalyn R. Dance, D-Petersburg, and state Del. Lashrecse D. Aird, D-Petersburg. The lawmakers will have state officials on hand at the Union Station meeting to discuss the lawsuit, as well as the possibility of legislative remedy coming from the 2019 General Assembly session.

By Bill Atkinson, Assistant Editor
Bill Atkinson may be reached at 804-722-5167 or batkinson@progress-index.com. Follow him on Twitter at @BAtkinsonpi.