Four landfill operators have been sued by the state for not cleaning up their junk business. Attorney General’s spokesman Bob Brammer says one of the environmental lawsuits was filed against "Landfill of Des Moines," a business that took in the construction debris from contractors doing road and building work.
They operated a big construction-waste landfill in the capital city, near the Des Moines river, and though they’d closed it in 1998, law requires them to do certain things to maintain it for thirty more years. For example, they were supposed to monitor and report the quality of water near that landfill. The fencing around that site is inadequate, and officials say off-road vehicles from a nearby bike trail get into the site and cause erosion. He says the court’s asking that operator and three others to keep up vegetation, do the required reports on water quality, and in general monitor dumpsites better as required by state environmental laws.
The others facing lawsuits filed by the Attorney General’s office are in Lyon, Jefferson and Washington Counties, in different corners of the state. Each is somewhat similar, they’re all essentially dumpsites, but they’re messy, full of junk, and in some cases the operators are committing violations like open burning of waste.
In a couple of cases the operators took in old appliances and cut them up without the proper permits or procedures. Brammer says appliances have things like freon and other hazardous materials in them, and if they’re not handled properly those chemicals will get into the environment and be a risk to people.
The defendants are Landfill of Des Moines, Harol and Sharon DeVos of Edna, near Rock Rapids, Albert Miller near Kalona in Washington County, and Robert Miller in Jefferson County. That last suit charges that the Batavia fire department had to put out four illegal fires at his site, two of them in May of 2006.