CFS subject of lawsuit by DEQ

Published 12:08 pm Wednesday, November 14, 2018

rginia Attorney General Mark Herring and the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recently announced a lawsuit against Container First Services (CFS) Group Disposal & Recycling Services, LLC.

CFS owns the Lunenburg County landfill in addition to the Tri-City landfill in Petersburg. As the company seeks to improve its operations at the Tri-City landfill, a spokesperson for the company announced that waste is being transferred out of the Tri-City landfill into the Lunenburg County landfill.

The lawsuit in question, announced Nov. 1, specifically addresses alleged violations and four counts of illegal action at the Tri-City landfill that include that the landfill exceeded the permitted waste pile height, failed to properly maintain its stormwater control system, failed to adequately cover exposed waste, failed to maintain the required amount of extra waste cover, and failed to correct the violations in a timely manner even after being repeatedly notified.

Meridian Waste, which purchased CFS in 2017, issued a statement saying that the company “is aware that the complaint allegations date back to 2015 and 2016 prior to the Company’s purchase of the disposal facility. We cannot comment on pending litigation; however, we have amended operations to greatly reduce waste disposal at the Tri-City Landfill and to transfer materials to a different Virginia permitted landfill while the site undergoes operational improvements.”

Meridian Waste Chief Marketing Officer Mary O’Brien confirmed Thursday that the Lunenburg County landfill is the landfill that the materials being transferred out of the Tri-City landfill is entering.

Representatives from Lunenburg County said that CFS has estimated approximately 300 tons per day are being transferred from the Tri-City landfill to the Lunenburg landfill. CFS is in the process of building a new cell for the landfill, which is expected to open in January 2019 as the current cell will be closing in December 2018.

The Lunenburg landfill, as of April of this year, has received numerous complaints from residents that include high volumes of mud on the roadways leading up to the landfill by trucks after rain or snowfall and expenses associated with repairing that road. Landfill Liaison Carl Ashworth, during the April meeting, cited miscommunication and new staffing among reasons for the persistent instances of mud on the roads.

“The problem with the road is that we fix it today, (but) we don’t fix the problem,” Ashworth said. “We clear it out to get it back to where it’s supposed to be, but then it rains again and we basically have another kind of problem. It’s continuing, and I know that’s one of the problems that VDOT’s had. The problem is not being solved.”

“You have the safety hazard on the highway,” VDOT Representative Billy Smith said of the consequences of the mud during the April meeting.

He said the department’s goal is to have the road clear, but said the goal has failed to be successful.

“Every time it rains, it’s a mess,” Smith said. “It’s a lot of expense, I know, for them,” Smith said about CFS. “It’s also an expense for us.”

“It’s a cost to the taxpayers that we shouldn’t have to bear,” Smith said. “But it is a very serious matter. We are looking at it very seriously, daily.”