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Environment groups, company settle lawsuit over landfill

Environment groups, company settle lawsuit over landfill

Published: 1:43:34 PM

Modified: 1:42:42 PM

Two environmental groups settled a federal lawsuit against a waste management company. The suit was over allegations that a New Hampshire landfill had leaked toxic chemicals into a river nearby.

This week’s settlement gives Casella Waste Systems and North Country Environmental Services two years to remove sediments from a drainage channel that runs between the Bethlehem Landfill and the Ammonoosuc River.

The companies must also contribute $50,000 to a trust for projects that promote restoration and preservation of water quality within the Ammonoosuc River watershed.

Hayley Jones, the New Hampshire & Vermont State Director of Community Action Works, stated that we are thrilled to have reached a settlement that protects the Ammonoosuc River’s water quality and holds Casella responsible for the negative environmental impacts of one its landfills. This settlement is a step in right direction and demonstrates the critical role community enforcement of environmental law plays in protecting our environment.

Tom Irwin, vice-president and director of CLF New Hampshire said that the settlement showed why New Hampshire should focus on reducing waste rather than putting it in landfills.

Irwin said that Casella had removed decades worth of contaminated sediments in a polluted channel that flows into the Ammonoosuc. This settlement directly addressed a legacy of landfill pollution.

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Joseph Fusco, Rutland-based Casella Waste Systems in Vermont, claimed that the settlement demonstrates that the company felt strongly about its case based upon the facts. We believe that the settlement proves that we were right.

Fusco stated that the settlement will allow them to move forward and continue to provide infrastructure for public health and the environment to protect public health and the environment to our more than 50,000 customers, 150 communities and 150 communities in New Hampshire over many years. Fusco spoke via email.

Toxics Action Center and Conservation Law Foundation accused the companies of allowing high concentrations of iron and manganese to leak from its 46-acre landfill into Ammonoosuc River. The claims were denied by the company.

The groups claim that the Bethlehem landfill’s discharges violate the federal Clean Water Act and pose a danger to river swimmers.

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