Arbor Hills Gets Its 3rd DEQ Violation This Year

Arbor Hills received a violation from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality on April 29, 2016.

According to the DEQ, Arbor Hills also had a fire in a gas well on the south side.  This was due to the greater vacuum pulling in oxygen into that well.  The well melted.  The landfill added cover, which snuffed out the smoldering fire.  They have decreased the vacuum to that area to push out any oxygen and will need to replace the well.  This could contribute to odors until this area is fixed and the vacuum reestablished in that area.

See the violation.

Court battle ensues over who’s responsible for landfill odor

SALEM TOWNSHIP — Something stinks around the Arbor Hills Landfill, but no one “nose” who’s responsible for controlling the smell.

Neighbors near the landfill have been complaining about the smell coming from the site, but the two companies involved in controlling the property and the gas collection system are at odds over who should be held accountable for the odor.

Advanced Disposal, the Florida-based company that owns the Arbor Hills Landfill at 10690 Six Mile Road filed a motion last week against Phoenix-based Republic Services asking Republic to comply with a judgment issued in February by the Washtenaw County Circuit.

An arbitration court ruled in December that Advanced was not responsible for gas collection and control system, which is owned by Republic.

“Our number one priority has been to address the landfill gas odors impacting our neighbors around the landfill. All other alternatives to force Republic Services to comply with their contractual obligations have been unsuccessful,” said Dave Lavender, east region vice president of Advanced in a press release.

Lavender went on to say that his company has been working with the state and local municipalities to resolve the issue.

In its motion, Advanced asked the court to enter a court order that would set specific actions and dates by which they must be achieved that would require Republic to control the gas and the odors.

Russ Knocke, a spokesman for Allied/BFI (a division of Republic) says the company is prepared to fight claims that their system is to blame for the smell.

“The court will also be informed, as can be seen from the Motion itself, there is nothing in Advanced’s Motion or elsewhere establishing a link between the odors noticed by the facility’s neighbors and the gas collection and control system owned by Allied and BFI,” Knocke said in a statement.

He went on to say that Advanced is required by the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (MDEQ) to maintain the landfill properly in order to prevent the odors being released. None of those operations are the responsibility of Republic, Knocke said.

Republic says it first learned about the odors in January and began working to determine their systems were not to blame for the smell. The company also accelerated scheduled work on the systems where wells were replaced or improved ahead of schedule, Knocke said.

“The undisputable truth is that no one—not Allied, BFI, Advanced or the MDEQ—knows yet what caused the odors, or if there were multiple causes of some or all of the odors,” Knocke said.

Read the story

Washtenaw Solid Waste Planning Meetings

If you are interested in making your voice heard regarding the Arbor Hills Landfill expansion, plan to attend the next Washtenaw County Solid Waste Planning Committee meeting at 5:30 p.m. on April 13 at 705 Zeeb Rd, Ann Arbor. Review the meeting packet.

The committee opens the floor to public comment at the beginning and the end of every meeting.  Carpools are available. Contact if you need a ride or want more information.

Learn more about the expansion process.

This committee has the authority to include the new Arbor Hills Landfill in the Washtenaw County solid waste management plan. We need to convince them not to include the expansion in their plan.

Ask your friends and neighbors to attend this meeting.

The Washtenaw County Solid Waste Planning Committee  was formed to update the county’s solid waste plan specifically in response to  Advanced Disposal’s request to expand Arbor Hills Landfill.

The May 11 meeting will be hosted at Salem Township Hall, 9600 Six Mile Road. Please plan to attend this meeting as well.

Update from Gov. Snyder’s office

Thank you for your March 2, 2016, e-mail to Governor Rick Snyder regarding odor issues from the Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc. in Salem, Michigan and a proposed expansion of that facility. Governor Snyder has referred your e-mail to the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) for response.

Since Scott Miller of the DEQ Air Quality Division has already provided information to you regarding the odor issues at Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc., I will address your concern over the proposed expansion.

Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc. has not applied for an expansion permit with the DEQ. The company has started preliminary discussions with Salem Township and Washtenaw County regarding a proposal to expand the landfill operation north of Six Mile Road in the area currently used for composting operations. These discussions are between the landfill company, the host community, and the county.

The landfill is regulated by the DEQ pursuant to Part 115, Solid Waste Management, of the Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act, 1994 PA 451, as amended. Under Part 115, each county must develop a Solid Waste Management Plan (SWMP). Any proposed landfill expansion must first be determined to be consistent with the SWMP prior to an application being made to the DEQ.

Washtenaw County is currently in the process of amending its entire SWMP as well as to allow for an expansion at Advanced Disposal Services Arbor Hills Landfill, Inc. The process for amending the SWMP does include an opportunity for public input. You may contact Mr. Jeffrey Krcmarik, Washtenaw County’s Designated Planning Agency contact for the amendment at 734-222-6865 or to request to be added in the Solid Waste Management Planning Committee (SWMPC) notifications throughout the process. The SWMP approval process allows for public input during each of the SWMPC meetings, 90-day public comment, and public hearing, Board of Commissioners approval meeting, during the 67 percent municipal approval process and during the final DEQ approval.

Once Washtenaw County amends their SWMP to include this landfill expansion then the facility would be able to apply for a construction permit with the DEQ. At that time the DEQ will offer a public meeting and or public hearing to answer questions and address public concerns before a decision is made on permitting the landfill expansion.

We appreciate you bringing your concerns to our attention. If you have any further questions or comments, please contact Mr. Lawrence Bean at 517-416-4375, or e-mail, or you may contact me.

Steve Sliver, Acting Office Chief
Office of Waste Management and Radiological Protection

DEQ Report: FY15 Solid Waste Mgt. Fund

We have received a copy of the Department of Environmental Quality’s Report on Activities Funded by the Staff Account of the Solid Waste Management Fund for fiscal year 2015.

View the document

Fast facts:

  • In fiscal year 2015, the DEQ collected fines and penalties of $100,800.
  • A total of 908 inspections were conducted.
  • The DEQ received 1,089 solid waste management complaints, 52 of which were investigated via inspections.
  • The amount of revenue in the Solid Waste Management Fund Staff Account at the end of FY2014 was $3,761,002 and FY2015 was $4,074,281.

Updates from MDEQ & Rep. Kurt Heise

Diane Kavanaugh Vetort of the DEQ sent this update today:

Thank you for contacting me and I apologize for the delay in responding. I did conduct odor evaluations in the area Friday 26th between 8:00 am to 9:00 am and then again after receiving a Northville Ridge PEAS complaint at 5:45 pm I was in the area from 7:00 pm to 8:00 pm.  I observed landfill gas odor on both occasions and was able to obtain a sample on S. Glacier during the morning hour. The sample results will be made available when we receive them. Unfortunately, I did not observe the odor in the complainant’s residential area during my observation in the evening. I did however detect it quite strong on 6 Mile at the Napier corner and east of Napier, and less strong downwind on Briar Ridge in the Steeplechase subdivision.

AQD received other complaints over the weekend for a total of about 16 (I did not receive a call from the school). We are continuing to log all of them and will continue to conduct odor evaluations when possible. We are also continuing to notify the Arbor Hills Landfill of the ongoing odor complaints and are receiving regular updates on the construction. The most recent update received was yesterday 2/29.

·       Drilling two additional wells along the Cell 4 East facing slope, near the intersection of, Cell 4-B, Cell-1, Cell 5.

·       We anticipate having both of those wells drilled by dark today.

·       Apparently, the connection performed last Friday to well 225-R3 proved inadequate and that line required re-installation during the weekend while there was no traffic to interfere.

·       Repairs to the 2nd drill rig are expected to be completed Tuesday and wells 224-R3, 226-R2 and well 283 will be connected by weeks end.

·       Trenching for the installation of air/forcemain lines is ongoing, as is the evaluation for pump installation.

Below is an update received from a local neighbor from state Rep. Kurt Heise yesterday:

As the former Director of the Wayne County Department of Environment, my staff and I were tasked with the ultimate oversight of landfill permitting and operations.  While DEQ had permit compliance oversight on things like odor, transport, dust and other factors, the permitting and siting process was largely the responsibility of the county.  Wayne County’s landfills in the 1990’s were sited with an eye toward future expansion, and I’m sure the Salem landfill was no different. 

I will ask Valerie Knol in my office to see what options there might be for getting Northville an official spot on the approval process.  From what I’ve heard from township officials, the landfill is going to be expanded and I’m not sure what we can do to stop it.  We will see what we can do, however.  I would also urge you to talk to (Northville Township) Supervisor Nix and Chip Snider to see what they know about the situation and whether they would support such a move.

DEQ posts violations, air quality reports

The Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality has posted a new page about the Arbor Hills Landfill. See air sampling reports, violation details and construction updates.

Arbor Hills background, reports

The DEQ did not include the more serious violation details from Arbor Hills Energy, the adjacent landfill gas-to-energy turbine plant owned and operated by Fortistar Methane Group. The gas collection facility has received violations for exceeding sulfur dioxide emission standards. The Environmental Protection Agency links short-term exposure to sulfur dioxide to an array of adverse respiratory effects.

Learn more about the Fortistar Methane Group violations at Arbor Hills Energy.

Advanced, Republic violation response

The Feb. 2, 2016 violation the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality issued to Advanced Disposal and Republic Services asked for a response by Feb. 15, 2016. A Freedom of Information Act request returned the three documents below.

What we are about

This site contains information regarding the Arbor Hills Landfill in Salem Township, MI.  We have a grassroots movement seeking to eliminate the sources of odor in Salem Township and the surrounding communities.

Our first target is stop the proposed 240-acre expansion of the Arbor Hills Landfill.  We are trying to stop the expansion that will increase the capacity of the landfill and extend its operations.  We believe the landfill is a major source of odor affecting eastern Washtenaw and western Wayne counties.

Contact us at

Our mission is to improve the environment by working with neighbors, government entities, area businesses and community leaders to create a clean and safe place to live and work.