Sonoma County landfill neighbors threaten suit over pollution

  • 7/29/2012: B5:
    PC: A windrow turner goes through a windrow of composting yard trimmings at Sonoma Compost at the Sonoma County landfill on Wednesday afternoon. cc0220_Compost_windrows.jpg
    2/21/2002: B1: A pile of composting yard trimmings is measured at 141 degrees Fahrenheit. The compost is kept at a minimum of 131 degrees for 15 days in order to dispose of pathogens and most common yard chemicals.

Neighbors of Sonoma County's Central Landfill are threatening to file a federal Clean Water Act lawsuit over the pollution they say has been running off compost piles and fouling surrounding waterways for years.

Residents of nearby Happy Acres subdivision say they'll sue by mid-August unless they can reach a settlement with the county over the wastewater they say is generated by the 35-acre compost operation located at the northern end of the landfill.

"Who would want to live next to a compost facility that's spewing pollution into the adjacent creek?" said Attorney Michael Lozeau, who represents the group Renewed Efforts of Neighbors Against Landfill Expansion, or RENALE.

The group has already sued to block the installation of a recycling facility at the landfill. That lawsuit was recently settled out of court.

Now the group is targeting the 100,000 tons of soil and compost that Sonoma Compost processes annually from yard waste and food scraps collected from businesses and residences across the county.

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