The Department of Environmental Quality has issued an administrative order requiring the Harrelson landfill to cease receiving and disposing of new material.  

That material is believed to be causing fire and smoke issues at the landfill at I-220 and Russell Road. DEQ says it issued the order out of an abundance of caution and is currently testing environmental conditions at the site and monitoring the air in the area.

The order directs Harrelson Material Management, Inc., to "refrain from receiving and disposing of new waste and from any and all other activity that may cause or contribute to smoldering and/or fires at the landfill."  It does make an exception, saying that Harrelson can continue "digging, covering, and compacting waste as necessary to extinguish and prevent combustion."

Under the order, Harrelson is required to submit a revised version of a fire mitigation plan by July 1st so the fire can be stopped.  Plus, Harrelson must submit weekly written reports to DEQ documenting the plan's implementation.  The order also includes an emergency declaration.

The city has been fighting the landfill for 20 years and, earlier this month, Mayor Cedric Glover sent a letter to Governor Bobby Jindal urging the state to take immediate action to shut down the landfill, since the state issued the permit under which it is operating.  This afternoon, the mayor issued a statement saying that the order still falls short of what's needed to ensure the health and safety of residents in the city's MLK neighborhood.  "This still does not require Harrelson to permanently shut down all operations at this facility," said Glover, "thus it falls considerably short of the request I made last week to Gov. Jindal. The history of violations at this landfill is horrendous and the only real priority at this point is making sure the folks who have to inhale this exhaust every day get immediate relief"

Not only does Glover want the state to completely shut down the landfill, he also wants DEQ to require Harrelson to submit a fully-funded landfill remediation program.  He says this process will help ensure that off-site contamination to public water lines, home filtering systems, gas ventilation systems, and so forth is non-existent or limited.

"DEQ continues to work with local officials and fire departments to ensure this company is held accountable for ceasing operations and causing the smoke," said DEQ Secretary Peggy Hatch.  "We are continuing to test the area and will keep the public informed of all developments."


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