Local News

Wake landfill, neighbors agree to settle lawsuit over stench

Posted January 29, 2020 6:51 p.m. EST

— The operator of the South Wake Landfill in Holly Springs has reached a deal with nearby residents to settle their class-action lawsuit over odors from the dump.

The agreement, which still must be approved by a judge, calls for Wake County Disposal LLC to pay $950,000 to the residents and add an estimated $1.2 million in odor-reducing equipment and technology to its operations at the landfill.

The 180-acre landfill on Old Smithfield Road was surrounded by woods when it opened in 2008. But as Holly Springs has grown in recent years, some neighborhoods have developed nearby – and a trash dump and residents don't always mix.

Residents sued two years ago over "airborne emissions of pollutants, air contaminants, and noxious odors" from the landfill.

"Mostly, you just go outside and get in your car, or you go somewhere else, go back inside. You can’t stay outside because it just stinks," Christi Bennett, who lives nearby, said Wednesday. "The biggest problem is there was no course of action before the lawsuit."

Anyone who has lived within 3 miles of the center of the landfill since September 2015 is eligible to take part in the settlement, so it's unclear how much each household would receive. People have 45 days to apply to be part of the settlement after notices are sent out, or they have 30 days to opt out of the settlement and puruse their own claims in the case.

The attorneys who represented the residents in the lawsuit can claim up to $465,000 of the settlement for their fees and expenses.

Wake County Disposal plans to add an odor-neutralizing agent to the spray it uses as an alternative to daily cover at the landfill, install de-watering pumps as needed into approximately 30 percent of the
landfill's methane gas wells and purchase environmental data management software and hardware to better monitor odors at the site.

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