Waste Management has been ordered to pay $703,420 in civil penalties for violations at the Pottstown Landfill.A news release from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection Friday indicated that the penalties stem from violations discovered at the landfill in 2004.
Additionally, Waste Management will reimburse DEP $28,193 for the cost of stack testing, and pay Berks County a matching amount of $703,420 because of the violations.
The penalty collected from Waste Management by DEP will be paid to the Clean Air Fund, which is used to improve air quality in the commonwealth.
The news release from DEP indicated that from May 13-19, 2004, one of the pipelines at the Pottstown Landfill which connected the eastern expansion and western portion of the landfill exceeded the combined average gas flow rate, and one of the flares exceeded the carbon monoxide emission rate.
In June 2004, DEP confirmed violations relating to the maintenance and permitting of facility turbines, including Waste Management's practice of replacing turbines every 30,000 hours without obtaining a plan approval, the news release indicated.
In November 2004, Waste Management was cited for "neglecting to monitor landfill gas collection well-heads on a monthly basis and for not correcting temperature and oxygen level exceedances within the required time," according to the release from DEP.
The landfill stopped accepting waste in October 2005, and although it closed, it is still generating landfill gas, and DEP will continue to monitor the emissions there.
The $703,420 Waste Management will pay Berks County stems from a provision in an agreement Waste Management made with the county.
According to Berks County Commissioner Mark Scott, the matching fines provision says that in the event that Waste Management is fined by DEP, Berks County will get an equal amount.
Scott said the $703,420, which he anticipates will be paid by Waste Management within 60 days, will be put in the Environmental Defense Fund for the county to be used to study environmental permits, among other things.
Scott said having the matching fines provision in the settlement with Waste Management was "a good way to protect us [Berks County] and to give them [Waste Management] an incentive to comply."
"If [Waste Management] didn't comply, it was a reward or at least something to take some of the sting out of their failure to comply," Scott said.
Scott was pleased that the county will benefit from a provision in an agreement that was made several years ago.
"I'm really very happy about it," he said. "As an attorney, I was able to incorporate something I anticipated to be a big benefit to the county, [although] I never thought it would bring in an additional $1 million."