FARMINGVILLE, NY (OnSachem.com / OnTownMedia.com) — The Town of Brookhaven issued a statement on Friday morning about its settlement with federal officials about alleged violations of the Clean Air Act at the town's landfill in Brookhaven. Read the original article from Thursday evening here.
The town's statement follows in its entirely.
Statement from the Town of Brookhaven
In August, the Town of Brookhaven (Town) agreed to resolve an administrative enforcement proceeding the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) commenced in 2008 concerning air emissions and permitting considerations at the Town of Brookhaven Landfill. The resolution is embodied in a settlement agreement, termed a Consent Judgment, that was approved by the EPA and filed with the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York by the Department of Justice today [Sept. 24, 2020].
For many years, the Landfill’s operations have been subject to state and federal air quality requirements. These requirements are contained in an air permit issued to the Town by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). In 2002, DEC issued a revised air permit for the Landfill requiring a hydrogen sulfide treatment system to ensure sulfur dioxide (SO2) emissions remained below 250 tons per year (tpy). In 2006, the Town installed a SulfaTreat system to meet that requirement. That system was not operated continuously because it was not needed to ensure SO2 emissions remained below 250 tpy.
In 2007, the DEC issued a draft permit renewal for the Landfill. The draft permit contained a condition that required treatment system operation only when Landfill SO2 emissions reached225 tpy. EPA objected to the draft permit, and informed the Town that the treatment system must be operated continuously. In 2008, EPA requested information from the Town and Wehran Energy Corporation, which operated a landfill gas to energy plant at the Landfill, concerning Landfill operations and emissions. For the next several years, the Town and Wehran fully complied with multiple requests for information from EPA, and the parties engaged in a cooperative discussion and information-sharing process regarding air emissions from the Landfill. In 2011, EPA issued a finding of violation alleging that there had been violations of air quality requirements. While the Town did not agree with all of the EPA allegations, it continually evinced an intent to comply with all applicable regulatory requirements and cooperated in all respects.
The parties began discussing a resolution of this matter in 2012. Over the next several years, intermittent discussions occurred among the Town, EPA and the DOJ regarding a completere solution of EPA’s enforcement proceeding. Earlier this year, the parties successfully reached agreement on a Consent Judgment that would resolve all alleged violations.
As stated in the Consent Judgment, the “Town has worked cooperatively with EPA since 2011 in an effort to address the alleged violations.” Moreover, while EPA and DOJ have alleged violations of air quality requirements, the Town has not admitted any liability with respect to the allegations. In addition to payment of a penalty to resolve the matter, the Consent Judgment requires, among other things, the installation of a new flare to control emissions, operation of the SulfaTreat system, and compliance with air permit requirements. The Town has already completed certain requirements contained in the Consent Judgment, which is further indication of its cooperation in this matter.
In all respects, the Town is pleased that the Consent Judgment establishes a solid framework to ensure that applicable air quality requirements are met.