- Waste Management will pay $2 million to settle a lawsuit filed on behalf of Bucks County, PA residents who have complained that strong odors from Tullytown Landfill reduced the value of their properties and their quality of life.
- The tentative settlement includes a $1.4 million award for residents, $605,000 of which will be deducted for attorney's fees and related costs. Waste Management will also install and operate two odor-misting systems for about $300,000; administer odor control suppressants for about $300,000; and power wash Florence Marina docks and walkways. Additionally, the company cannot make changes to allow the facility to accept wastewater treatment sludges or biosolids.
- The settlement received preliminary federal court approval, and a March 2 hearing is scheduled to formally approve it. Waste Management spokesperson John Hambrose encouraged residents to review the settlement documents and submit a claim form if they want to be compensated.
The settlement not only will compensate residents for what they say it has cost them, but the complaints that triggered the court outcome will have more profound, long-term effects.
"I think the goal of the homeowners has been achieved by the closing of the landfill and now by making sure it gets capped and closed down properly so five, 10 years from now, this doesn't continue to be an ongoing problem," said Kevin Riechelson, an attorney involved in the case. "This type of case, if you only focus on the money damage ... the odor continues and you're back at square one."
Waste Management incurred an earlier $500,000 fine for failing to contain odors at the site, and has since been working on the problem — for instance, installing new gas wells and more capping.
Hambrose said they are committed to "being a good neighbor. And this commitment will continue while we complete our disposal operations at Tullytown by May 2017 and during all future operations here in Bucks County."