Methane Buildup at|Dump Alarms Neighbors


     DALLAS (CN) – Methane building up at a suburban city landfill threatens nearby homes, a landowner claims in court.
     Centerville Road Venture sued the city of Garland in Federal Court. It claims the previous owners of the land allowed the city to use it as a landfill, claiming it was an improvement to the property that it would allow development when the landfill was complete.
     Garland, pop, 222,000 is northeast of Dallas.
     “Because of the environmental contamination which now exists on the property, no development has been allowed,” the complaint states. “Moreover, this contamination has rendered the property unmarketable for over 35 years.”
     The complaint adds: “The environmental contamination which the City of Garland dumped, or caused to be dumped, on the subject real property presents an imminent and substantial endangerment to health and/or the environment.”
     Subsurface testing at the property found more 50,000 parts of methane per milligram, the complaint states.
     “Methane exceeded its Lower Explosive Limit of 5 percent by volume (equivalent to 50,000 ppm) in three of the soil borings,” the complaint states.
     The environmental tester “noted that, because the methane concentrations in three borings exceeded the detection limit of the detection equipment of 50,000 ppm, it is likely that methane levels are actually greater than 5 percent by volume.”
     Methane, which generated by decomposition of organic materials, is highly explosive and flammable. State law forbids methane concentrations in landfills to exceed 5 percent by volume and requires owners and operators to “take immediate steps to ensure the protection of human health, which includes the implementation of a remediation plan for methane gas releases,” the plaintiff says.
     It claims that it and the previous owner notified the city three times in writing of the problem, but have been ignored. It says a soil cap on the property cannot stop the dangerous methane buildup and releases, and that environmental testing firm recommended that action be taken because the deadly gas could migrate to neighboring properties.
     “Among other things, methane gas can, and does, enter structures through subsurface migration, and endanger human health, both as a result of its highly explosive nature and by asphyxiation of humans and animals,” the complaint states. The plaintiff wants the city ordered to abate and remediate the methane contamination, and civil penalties.
     It is represented by Curtis Marsh.

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