Metro Tire Landfill Update

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Metro Tire Landfill Update


On August 30, 2007, along with The Friends of the Locust Fork River, we sued Metro Recycling’s tire landfill for unpermitted water pollution discharges into an unnamed tributary of White’s Creek, a tributary of the Black Warrior River’s Locust Fork. Results from our samples showed the pollutants illegally discharged included: Benzene (a known carcinogen), Chloromethane (possible carcinogen), 1,2-Dichloroethane (probable carcinogen), Ethylbenzene, Toluene, Vinyl Chloride (known carcinogen), and Xylenes, o,m,p.

On October 28, 2008 we settled our lawsuit with Metro Recycling. The landfill agreed to stop its pollution, obtain a proper discharge permit if it continued operations, and donate $7,500 to the Freshwater Land Trust for a fish study on the Locust Fork, which was successfully conducted by biologists Dr. Larry Davenport and Dr. Kevin Morse.

Unfortunately, Metro Recycling has been slow to comply with the full settlement and we have therefore devoted substantial time to enforcing its terms. As a result of that enforcement, the parties entered into a second consent decree on March 6, 2014 that specified the steps that Metro must take to stop the pollution.

On September 15, 2014 the district court judge supervising the settlement awarded attorneys’ fees and costs for our monitoring and enforcement actions, holding that these efforts furthered the intent of the Clean Water Act.  Metro appealed but, on June 3, 2015, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed this award in a 3-0 ruling.

While it is frustrating that it has taken Metro Recycling so long to meet all of its obligations, we will continue to monitor the site until we can be sure that the landfill has stopped its discharge of pollutants, once and for all.

Nelson Brooke, Riverkeeper, collects a sample of water at Metro Tire Landfill.

Nelson Brooke, Riverkeeper, collects a sample of water at Metro Tire Landfill for laboratory analysis.

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