Foul-Smelling R.I. Landfill Results in $5 Million Settlement

A Rhode Island town’s legal battle has finally come to an end almost two years after Mayor Joseph M. Polisena launched litigation regarding a horrendous, sickening odor coming from a landfill.

Broadrock Renewables is the company being blamed for the offensive stench in Johnston, Rhode Island and will pay $3 million over the next 20 years. In addition, they will hire an independent company to capture the landfill’s gasses.

Broadrock’s power-generating facilities at the landfill, including a new $150-million plant, were shut down this summer on orders of Johnston’s building official, who cited a range of code violations, including the use of substantial materials, including duct tape and a broomstick to make a repair, in one instance.

Almost all of Broadrock’s operations were shut down following a reported explosion on July 16th at the smaller of two plants.

The Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corporation settled with the town in August, agreeing to pay $3 million, and another $2 million to be paid out to the city for handling control of power generation to a third party.

The agreement with Broadrock states that the company will still own the equipment used to collect gasses, it will choose a gas systems manager and operator and will pay the cost of employment. The city agreed to dismiss code violations against the company as part of the settlement. As part of the agreement, the town will not sue Broadrock over the next three years if further odor problems arise.

Polisena said the $5 million in settlement money secured in the agreement would be placed into a fund to pay for road repairs and other capital expenses.

Broadrock was scheduled to make their first $100,000 payment to Johnston on September 13th and its final $200,000 payment is due in February 2032.

Johnston is using the first $3 million in settlement money promised by Resource Recovery in August to develop a soccer and football facility for the town’s youth.

At the height of the odor problem in 2011, the town accused both Resource Recovery and Broadrock of failing to properly attend to the gases that are produced when solid waste decomposes.

Because of this, large amounts of gases, including hydrogen sulfide, which gives off a smell similar to rotten eggs, escaped into the air, causing complaints from local residents.

Polisena made it clear that hiring an independent company to oversee the gas collection is a significant part of the legal settlement.

The $1.5 million paid upfront, was contingent on the dismissal of the lawsuit and will be received shortly, with remainder of the payment to be paid over a 14-year time frame.

Feel free to comment on this blog post.  For more information, contact one of our Gacovino Lake attorneys at 1-800-246-HURT (4878).

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