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Illinois residents sue waste company over landfill odor

June 8, 2018

ZION, Ill. (AP) — Residents of a northern Chicago suburb are suing a waste collection company amid concerns about it possibly expanding its landfill.

More than 50 households in the Zion area have filed lawsuits against Advanced Disposal, the Lake County News-Sun reported . The lawsuits allege that the company isn’t doing everything it can to minimize the landfill’s impact on the area.

One case involving five households, including area residents Kerry Johnson and Kathy Barnett, will go to trial June 18.

Johnson said residents have to keep their windows closed year-round to keep out the landfill’s smell, but the odor still seeps into their homes. Barnett said dust frequently coats their windows and patios.

The Lake County Health Department has seen complaints about the Zion landfill increase after the lawsuits were filed. There were about a dozen complaints in 2014, compared to more than 570 complaints last year, the department said.

The county’s other active landfill in Grayslake, which is owned by Waste Management, has seen complaints decline, from more than 520 in 2009 to about 40 last year, the department said.

Advanced Disposal has taken steps to address the odor, garbage, dust and noise the site produces, said James Lewis, the landfill’s general manager. Officials are also going to test out a new odor-neutralizing system, he said.

“We try to minimize our impact as much as possible, but it’s never going to be good enough for everyone,” Lewis said.

The company has purchased land for a potential expansion, but details haven’t been finalized and permitting hasn’t been initiated, Lewis said.

Advanced Disposal spokesman Mark Nighbor declined to comment on the lawsuit, but said the landfill has provided a “needed, very viable service” since 1976.

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Information from: Lake County News-Sun, http://newssun.chicagotribune.com/

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