Republic Services agrees to pay $1 million
Republic Services of Southern Nevada, the current operator
of the Sunrise Mountain Landfill located in Clark County,
Nevada, has agreed to take necessary steps to remedy
the situation at the site and to pay a $1 million civil
fine in order to resolve alleged violations of the Clean
Water Act, the Justice Department and United States Environmental
Protection Agency announced.
The consent decree, filed in the United States District
Court in Las Vegas, requires Republic Services of Southern
Nevada to implement extensive stormwater controls, an
armored engineered cover, methane gas collection, groundwater
monitoring and long-term operation and maintenance.
“Today’s settlement will minimize the risk to Clark County
residents from polluted water runoff and hazardous waste
discharges from the Sunrise Mountain landfill,” said
Ronald J. Tenpas, assistant attorney general for the
Justice Department’s Environment and Natural Resources
Division. “This settlement reflects the federal government’s
commitment to protecting valuable natural resources like
Lake Mead and its watershed.”
The settlement will ensure effective long-term control
of the landfill, which contains over 49 million cubic
yards of waste. The remedy, which is expected to take
roughly two years to build, will be designed to withstand
a 200-year storm and is expected to cost over $36 million.
Upon completion, the remedy is estimated to prevent the
release of over 14 million pounds of contaminants annually,
including stormwater pollutants, methane gas and landfill
“Landfill operators must ensure that effective safeguards
are in place to protect the environment and nearby communities,”
said Wayne Nastri, administrator of the EPA’s Pacific
Southwest region. “With today’s agreement, Republic is
required to properly close the landfill and ensure long-term
Sunrise Landfill, a 440-acre closed municipal solid waste
landfill, is located three miles outside of Las Vegas
city limits. The landfill cover failed during a series
of storms in September 1998, sending waste into the Las
Vegas Wash. The landfill is located two miles above the
Las Vegas Wash, which discharges directly into Lake Mead
— a primary drinking water resource for southern Nevada,
including the Las Vegas metro area, as well as the lower
Colorado River, the Phoenix metro area and southern California.
The landfill was operated on behalf of the County by
entities related to Republic Services of Southern Nevada
from the 1950’s through 1993. Following the landfill
cover failure in 1998, the EPA ordered Republic Dumpco,
a company related to Republic Services of Southern Nevada,
and the Clark County Public Works Department to correct
violations of the federal clean water laws and to immediately
stabilize the site.
Sunrise Mountain Landfill is unlined and contains more
than 49-million cubic yards of waste including: municipal
solid waste, medical waste, sewage sludge, hydrocarbon-contaminated
soils, asbestos and construction waste.
The proposed consent decree, lodged in the U.S. District
Court for the District of Nevada, is subject to a 30-day
public comment period and approval by the federal court.