NORTHVILLE, Mich. (FOX 2) - Residents living next to a landfill could have their fight settled in court.
As the Conservancy Initiative plans to sue the owners of the Arbor Hills landfill, people living near it packed the Northville High school auditorium for a town hall meeting Tuesday.
"We're bringing the hammer down, it's happening," said Tracey Birkenhauer.
Frustration was high at the assembly discussing the source of pungent odors and environmental concerns in Washtenaw County's Salem Township, which butts up right next to Northville. An elementary school is downwind of its stink.
"The bottom line for me is the landfill is a hot mess," said Birkenhauer.
And one the state has known about for years. Representatives from Michigan's Department of Environmental Quality were at the meeting. It began receiving odor complaints from residents in 2016.
"We think they've been a little bit egregious," said Sen. Dayna Polehanki. "And it necessitates some sort of legislation to up the ante a little bit and show the waste management companies that we're really serious and you can't ignore violations. You have to follow what the mdeq asks you to do in a timely manner."
State lawmakers Polehanki and Matt Koleszar introduced legislation that would allow MDEQ to up the price tag on fines for violations.
"I think the fact there have been so many violations that the MDEQ has been involved in shows that there's a need for this legislation," Koleszar said.
Advanced Disposal which owns the landfill was missing in action Tuesday. Now, from townhalls to board meetings the next battleground in the fight for clean air could be a courtroom.
"There were also concerns the mishandling of asbestos at the landfill. The MDEQ says even though there were violations, there's no sign the material was released in the air.