- A settlement has been reached in a lawsuit brought by the Conservation Law Foundation over improper gas collection systems at Rhode Island's 230-acre Central Landfill in the town of Johnston. The landfill is owned and operated by the Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation (RIRRC). Broadrock Gas Services and Rhode Island LFG Genco were also defendants.
- An engineering firm will now be hired to review the gas collection system (run by Broadrock) which fuels an adjacent power plant (run by Rhode Island LFG Genco) and find ways to enhance it. Air monitoring systems will also be reviewed.
- In its suit, CLF argued that the site had been operating without a proper Clean Air Act permit since 1997. The state has now issued a permit for the landfill.
This settlement caps the latest in a series of recent lawsuits involving the Central Landfill and hopefully marks the beginning a new direction for the site. Despite its many issues, Central is Rhode Island's largest landfill and a key part of the state's current waste system.
Previous lawsuits by the towns of Johnston and Cranston centered around odor and wastewater issues respectively and cost the RIRRC millions. This current suit was brought by CLF in December 2013 over concerns that hydrogen sulfide from landfill gas was posing a health risk to nearby communities.
While Johnston's recycling rates have been criticized, Rhode Island has been making good progress on a broader level. In April, it became the first state to adopt standardized Recycle Across America labels for recycling bins and in May the state released newly expanded composting regulations.