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State AG sues Salem Twp landfill for noxious emissions, leachate

Tracy Samilton
Michigan Radio

Michigan's Attorney General has filed a lawsuit against Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Twp.

The lawsuit says the landfill has repeatedly violated state environmental laws since at least 2014. 

That includes failing to control methane and other noxious-smelling emissions, as well as failing to keep pollutants from leaching into the groundwater.

Monya Ibrahim lives near the landfill, and her son attends school next to it.

"We can't even open our windows some evenings from how bad the smell is," she says. "So it's about time that they get held  accountable.  It's about time that our kids can go to school and not smell anything, it's about time that we live our  normal lives."

Advanced  Disposal, which owns the landfill, has not commented yet on the lawsuit.

State Attorney General Dana Nessel says for too long, companies have flouted the state's environmental laws, and the lawsuit is part of following through on her promise to force adherance once elected to state office.

The lawsuit requests an injunction requiring Advanced Disposal to swiftly remedy the issues.

"I will tell you there is a strong possibility if they don't comply that we will try to get them shut down," Nessel says.  "All I can do is  work my hardest in the courts."

Advanced Disposal also wants to build a second landfill across from the current one.  Local officials are urging the state legislature to pass a bill that would allow local jurisdictions, rather than counties, have control over where landfills are sited.

CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story said the Arbor Hills landfill was in Northville. The landfill itself is across the street from Northville, in Salem Twp, in Washtenaw County. This story has been updated to correct that error.

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Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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