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O'LEARY v. MOYER'S LANDFILL
August 27, 1981
Thomas and Carol O'LEARY, et al., Commonwealth Department of Environmental Resources
MOYER'S LANDFILL, INC., et al.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: POLLAK
The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Resources (DER) brought suit against Moyer's Landfill, Inc., Howard Moyer, Jr., Paul Lanigan, Catherine Moyer and Grange Environmental, Inc., in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania. DER's papers contained a complaint in equity, petition to enforce administrative order, petition for contempt, and a petition for preliminary injunction. No. 1651 C.D.1981. These actions were brought while I was considering proposals for final relief in Civil Action No. 80-3849, a related suit by citizen plaintiffs against the landfill and Messrs. Moyer and Lanigan. I approved a stipulation between attorneys for DER, the private plaintiffs, and all defendants, transferring the state case to this court, in an attempt to secure a coordinated resolution of related claims against the defendants. Stipulation and Order of July 10, 1981.
Because, but for the stipulation transferring DER's case to this court, DER's motion for a preliminary injunction would have been heard by the Commonwealth Court, I regarded myself, in considering the motion, as cloaked with the duty and authority of the Commonwealth Court
(subject of course to any pertinent limitations imposed on federal courts by Article III of the Constitution).
On July 17 and 24, 1981, a hearing was held on the first phase of DER's prayer for a preliminary injunction, in which DER sought to embody the substance of its June 26, 1981 order in a judicial decree. DER's June 26 order directed the defendants (1) to remove up to 50,000 gallons per day of leachate from the landfill site in order to reduce the volume of a recently accumulating leachate "lake," and (2) to insure that the leachate not discharge past the containing earthen berms, and to take certain other steps to collect and contain and/or dispose of leachate. The text of those substantive portions of its June 26 order which DER wants converted into a judicial decree is as follows:
It is hereby ordered that:
1. Effective immediately, and until further notice, Landfill, Owners and Operators shall remove and haul daily to disposal locations approved by DER, an amount of leachate which is equivalent to the daily volume of leachate generated by the landfill and collected in the leachate collection basins and sumps which comprise the Landfill's existing and approved leachate collection system. In no event, however, shall the volume of leachate removed and hauled in any day be less than 50,000 gallons. If the volume of leachate collected in the collection system for any given day is less than 50,000 gallons, Landfill, Operators and Landowners shall remove and haul from the leachate lake a volume of leachate sufficient to raise the total volume of leachate removed and hauled for that day to 50,000 gallons. Landfill, Operators and Landowners shall, until further notice, report to DER on a daily basis, the amounts of leachate hauled from the site and indicate the disposal location.
2. Effective immediately and until further written notice from DER, Landfill, Operators and Landowners shall spray irrigate from spray nozzles such volumes of leachate from the leachate lake not exceeding 1/2 per acre per day onto the portion of the landfill designated as Area "D" on the Final Closure Plan Map dated April 22, 1981. Such spray irrigation shall be conducted only during sunny weather and shall be conducted in such a manner as to prevent ponding runoff or erosion on the landfill site.
4. Effective immediately Landfill, Operators and Landowners shall cease the uncontrolled discharge of leachate through the breakouts at the leachate lake and shall take all necessary actions to prevent further discharge including but not limited to the following:
a. Provide at least 24 of freeboard for the leachate lake;
b. Repair the side berms of the leachate lake so as to prevent the further discharge or breakout of leachate through the berms.
5. Effective immediately Landfill, Operators and Landowners shall take all necessary additional measures, upon receiving prior written approval from DER, to prevent further collection or impoundment of leachate in the leachate lake.
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