Thursday, November 18, 2021

Northville Township files lawsuit against landfill

Northville Township has filed a lawsuit against the Arbor Hills Landfill in an effort, officials said, to hold the facility accountable for past violations and prevent future harm to township residents. 

The eight-count lawsuit which seeks to stop noxious odors, prevent intrusion of excess pollutants and protect Johnson Creek was filed Nov. 10.

After unsuccessfully working with lanfill owners GFL towards a resolution since their ownership began in October 2020, Northville Township Supervisor Mark J. Abbo has taken steps necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of township residents, according to a statement from the township.

The lawsuit against Arbor Hills includes counts for violating prior agreements with Northville Township by dumping wastewater into Johnson Creek and discharging wastewater with excess contaminants into the township sewer system. The lawsuit further requests the court issue an injunction against Arbor Hills Landfill for creating a public nuisance for Northville Township residents by releasing noxious odors and air contaminants. 

"Over the past year, we have been diligently working to resolve the ongoing issues with the Arbor Hills Landfill. We have reached an impasse over the past several months and resolution through the courts appears our only means to resolve this matter,” said Abbo. “We've decided it's time to take legal action against GFL, to protect the welfare of our citizens from any further harm.” 

Northville Township Trustee Chris Roosen agreed.

“We have been working with our state Legislature, neighborhood associations, and community leaders to stop the violations by GFL at the Arbor Hills Landfill and stop the nuisance it has created for township residents,” he said. 

Community leaders working in concert with the township include The Conservancy Initiative, a non-profit organization originally formed to oppose the proposed expansion of the Arbor Hills Landfill in 2015. The Conservancy Initiative members continue to monitor landfill activities and track odor complaints by township residents. 

“Odor complaints from the landfill are constantly being reported to The Conservancy Initiative and have continued to rise,” said Ralph Lassel, president of The Conservancy Initiative. “Within the past eight days alone, we have received over 40 odor complaints from Northville Township residents.” 

Attorney General Dana Nessel filed a lawsuit against the Arbor Hills Landfill in late 2020 for failing to comply with state and federal environmental regulations. Northville Township has applauded the efforts of Nessel and the work by the Michigan Department of Environmental, Great Lakes, and Energy (EGLE). The lawsuit filed Northville Township is separate and independent from the state efforts and provides additional, complementary relief to the citizens of Northville Township. 

The complaint filed includes claims against Arbor Hills Landfill for breach of contract, public nuisance, private nuisance, trespass, negligence and seeks injunctive relief. 

“Arbor Hills has refused to negotiate a resolution outside of court that ensures the health and safety of township residents. The Township Board of Trustees and I are committed to holding GFL accountable for the problems they have created in the operation of the Arbor Hills Landfill,” said Abbo.

 “We are committed to standing up for a safe, clean environment and community for Township residents, and will not be stopped in pursuing that goal.” 

A copy of the complaint can  be found at