Batts: Lawmaker has wrong idea on landfills


Re: The Detroit News’ Aug. 31 editorial, “Keep landfills from making a stink”: Orchard Hill Sanitary Landfill began operating 39 years ago, and has been inspected by state officials numerous times since then.

Since 2008, the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality conducted 36 evaluations of the landfill and found it to be in compliance each time.

The DEQ found the landfill to be out of compliance only once in the last eight years, on April 15, 2015, and was the result of insufficient cover being applied to the working face of the facility as required by statute. The landfill took immediate corrective action, did not contest the violation, and paid a $4,500 fine.

On Aug. 14, the DEQ evaluated the landfill again, and again found it in compliance. We like that. We don’t want to be in violation of state law, and we work hard to be good neighbors.

There are statements of one state representative who says odors and operations of our landfill are so egregious that he needs to increase fines for all landfills. Rep. Al Pscholka would increase the current fine for a first time violation from $10,000 per day to $25,000 per day. If there is a second violation, he wants to raise the fine by 300 percent to $75,000 per day. We think that’s overkill.

Orchard Hill Sanitary Landfill provides a valuable service to families and businesses throughout our region by giving them a safe, clean and cost-effective way to dispose of solid waste. The waste we dispose of comes from the residents and businesses of southwest Michigan; a very important and necessary service.

If passed, Pscholka’s legislation could cause some landfill operators to stop accepting certain types of waste altogether, for fear of incurring crippling financial penalties, creating more problems, such as illegal dumping. That is not a result anyone wants.

Daniel Batts

Landfill Management Co.