Lawsuit filed against Perry Co. landfill operators

Published 2:50 pm Thursday, June 24, 2010

UNIONTOWN – Florida attorney David Ludder is one of two environmental lawyers who filed a $32 million suit on behalf of 64 Perry County residents against the companies that operate Arrowhead Landfill.

Ludder is a familiar name to officials at the landfill and in West Alabama. He filed a Letter of Intent against the Demopolis Water and Sewer Board in February, citing a history of alleged violations by the water and sewer board that date back to 2004.

In his letter, Ludder also cited the Demopolis facility’s acceptance of leachate from the Perry County landfill.

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That lawsuit has since been superceded by one from the Alabama Attorney General’s Office, which was filed in April.

The new suit alleges a series of state environmental violations ranging from creating hazardous odors to improperly covering and controlling the spread of coal ash and any ill-effect through the surrounding community.

The suit asks the court to order Phill-Con Services LLC and Phillips and Jordan Inc. – the two companies who operate the landfill – to take corrective action immediately.

“(Phill-Con Services and Phillips and Jordan) have indicated that they intend to, and unless restrained by this Court, will continue to do the acts complained of …,” said the suit, which was filed Monday in Perry County Circuit Court. “Each and every act has been done without the consent and against the will and in violation of the rights of the (Perry County residents).”

Specifically, Ludder said, the suit and neighbors of the landfill cite dust, odor and noise at Arrowhead Landfill and their principle concerns.

“We’re seeking that the landfill not operate any heavy machinery after 7 p.m. and before 7 a.m. For the dust, we’re asking that all internal roads at the landfill be paved and cleaned, that trucks leaving the landfill are washed and that the waste piles be covered with six inches of dirt every day.”

Ludder added the dirt would also help abate the odor. Aside from corrective action, Ludder said the claimants were also seeking damages for “various types of injuries they have suffered since this practice began.”

“They’ve suffered headaches, dizziness, vomiting…Their property has been devalued and their enjoyment of their property has been diminished.”

The coal ash is freighted from Kingston, Tenn., where more than 5 million cubic yards spilled from a Tennessee Valley Authority holding pond in December 2008. For nearly a year, the Perry County landfill has received daily shipments of the material, which can contain arsenic and other potentially carcinogenic heavy metals.

Attorneys for Phill-Con Services LLC and Phillips and Jordan Inc. declined to comment citing the pending litigation.