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$4.8 Million Recovered by State of Michigan in Landfill Cleanup Case

Lansing, MI— A consent decree filed July 21, 2002, in Ingham County Circuit Court against 82 parties will mean a recovery of nearly $5 million for the state in environmental cleanup costs incurred by the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). The case, brought by the Attorney General’s office, involved the former Sunrise Landfill located in Wayland Township, Allegan County. Solid and liquid industrial wastes were disposed at the landfill from the late 1960s until it ceased operation in 1978.

The landfill was never properly designed, constructed, or closed. As a result, DEQ performed various response activities at the site, including, most recently, the removal of almost 6,000 buried drums of waste, and large volumes of contaminated soils and liquids from the site in 1999-2000. The DEQ spent approximately $6 million for those particular activities.

“This consent decree goes a long way to ensuring that both our environment and taxpayer dollars are protected,” said Cox.

In exchange for the required payment, the State agreed not to sue the Defendants for the defined “past response activity costs.” The State expressly reserves its rights as to all other matters, including any claims for future response activity costs, or additional response activity that may be needed at the site.

Some, but not all, of the defendants participated in three previous Consent Decrees with the State involving the site. Those settlements were entered in three separate lawsuits filed and resolved in 1994, 2000, and 2002. Under those Consent Decrees, the settling parties performed a Remedial Investigation Feasibility Study, reimbursed more than $3 million state costs prior to 1999, and are installing, and must maintain a new landfill cap, leachate collection system and groundwater monitoring system.


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