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No Damaging or Unsightly Mun. Pollution v. King County

ELR Citation: 16 ELR 21016
Nos. No. C82-186V, 24 ERC 1929/(W.D. Wash., 03/26/1986)

The court holds that the Cedar Hills county landfill in King County, Washington, is in violation of various Resources Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) groundwater regulations. In this RCRA suit, the court holds that the landfill is not in violation of RCRA's groundwater regulations with respect to a deep aquifer, but is in violation of the regulations with respect to the shallow aquifers underlying the landfill. The court holds that the landfill is in violation of RCRA regulations because it contains putrescible wastes and is located within 5,000 feet of an airport used only by piston-type aircraft. The putrescible wastes attract birds and this increases the chances of a midair collision between birds and aircraft. The court holds that the landfill's failure to apply a layer of soil over disposed solid waste at the end of each operating day also violates RCRA regulations. The landfill also violated RCRA regulations by discharging pollutants into surface waters that run into navigable waters.

The court next holds that plaintiff has standing to bring this action. Prudential concerns do not bar the action, since plaintiff's members suffered injury-in-fact and plaintiff's claims fall within the scope of interests protected by the statutes invoked. The constitutional requirement is met since plaintiff's members have suffered various aesthetic and economic injuries.

The court concludes that plaintiff is entitled to an order requiring King County to apply full daily cover, to improve the leachate collection system, to monitor groundwater, surface water, and drinking water wells, and to collect and dispose of gas generated at the site.

[The opinions on the award of attorney fees and costs appear at 16 CLR 21019 and 21021.]

Counsel for Plaintiff
Roger M. Leeds
1411 Fourth Ave., Suite 520, Seattle WA 98101
(206) 382-0217

Counsel for Defendants
Michael Linnabary
King County Prosecutor's Office
W554 King County Cthse., Seattle WA 98104
(206) 583-4437