Concerns grow in Richfield Township where company looks to buy landfill
RICHFIELD TOWNSHIP (WJRT) -
(08/01/14) - Concerns are growing in Richfield Township, where a Clarkston company is looking to buy a landfill.
TerRenova LLC wants to mine the land for recyclables at the landfill located near Holoway Reservoir.
The idea doesn't sit well with many people, and they're willing to take their fight to court.
We spoke with the lawyer representing the concerned residents. We're told they're upset because they're being left in the dark about the process.
They fear when the mining starts, things could get dangerous for all of Genesee County.
Attorney Michael Manly is speaking on behalf of the Holloway Lake Association. He's representing the group from Richfield Township upset about TerRenova LLC's plans to uncap garbage and mine the Richfield Landfield for metal.
"When you start uncapping garbage, you're going to have air pollution immediately," he said.
The concept is new for Michigan. This would be the first landfill in the state to undergo the process.
"These people do not have experience, they do not have the funding to do this correctly," Manly said.
That makes people nervous.
"There is no policies, procedures or regulations to prevent this and we think they are trying to go around the county," Manly said.
Manly says residents know very little about the plans.
The Richfield Landfill went into bankruptcy in 2012. It's being managed by the Department of Environmental Quality, and the proposed sale is being handled through bankruptcy court.
"No public hearings have been held," Manly said.
The landfill sits near Holloway Lake. They fear the digging could lead to contaminates leaking into the water system. If that happened, it could potentially affect all of Genesee County.
The reservoir serves as a backup water source.
Genesee County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jamie Curtis is calling for transparency.
"It definitely has me upset," he said. "This is not a fight for just that lake association and those people in Richfield Township, this is an impact to the whole county. I want the people of Genesee County to know that I am on this and I am going to have our legal team and our representatives, all the way to the state, senators and state representatives. We're going to make sure that our voice is heard," he said.
"The public has the right to know that when you put inexperienced operators in a landfill, the results can be catastrophic," Manly said.
Our calls to the DEQ and TerRenova were not returned in time for this story. Another bankruptcy hearing on the sale is scheduled for Monday.