- The Toxics Action Center and Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) filed a federal lawsuit against Casella on Monday, alleging illegal discharge of pollutants from the Bethlehem Landfill in New Hampshire into the Ammonoosuc River.
- The groups contend a drainage channel has been sending leachate into the river without a permit for at least five years, contaminating groundwater with elevated levels of iron, manganese and 1,4-dioxane.
- The suit comes after New Hampshire voters rejected a 100-acre expansion of the landfill that would have extended the landfill's lifespan past 2021.
Casella's Bethlehem Landfill accepts solid waste from throughout New England, and has taken on an outsize presence in this rural area for decades. After the groups announced their intent to sue in March, Casella Vice President Joe Fusco told the Union Leader that the actions against the landfill are "pure theater, produced in partnership with extremist lawyers from Massachusetts," and "tiresome, and laughably unimaginative." He also cited ongoing regulation from New Hampshire's Department of Environmental Services as a sign of the site's safety.
In a press statement Monday, Woody Little of the Toxics Action Center said, "Casella has a track record of releasing harmful contaminants into the environment, and this is not the first time the company has failed to protect New England waterways." Casella representatives, however, have told The Associated Press that they have complied with all of its permits for the landfill, and will continue to defend themselves against such claims.
Community relations around the landfill have grown increasingly tense in the past year. This has manifested itself through frequent social media debates, lawn signs and ongoing accusations of corporate influence. Believe in Bethlehem, the group in favor of landfill expansion for economic benefit, is said to be funded by Casella. On the opposition side, Growing Without Garbage has talked about ways to revitalize the region's tourism economy.
Read the full complaint below.