Neighbors Raising Stink; Cited Landfill Still Open

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- Nearly a year after violations started piling up for the operators of a stinking and dusty Rubbertown dump that was supposed to have been closed years ago, thousands of dollars in fines remain uncollected — but authorities have agreed to let it remain open indefinitely, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal in its Saturday edition.

State officials say that they scrapped previous deadlines to close the 41-year-old Ralph Avenue Landfill in hopes of keeping the business running long enough to allow an orderly shutdown, including capping the landfill. If the company went out of business, they fear, it would be abandoned and burden taxpayers.

But neighbors and the owner of an adjacent 180-unit mobile home park say that they've had enough of the odors and have grown more concerned about safety in the last two years, as activity at the landfill increased.

And an environmental watchdog and city official say the state should stop allowing potentially toxic coal ash to be dumped there.

"They kind of treat (it like) well, it's just a mobile home park — that's trailer trash," said Betty Donoho, who purchased the Pioneer Mobile Home Park off Cane Run Road in 2005 — and who says that the odors wafting in from the landfill can be overwhelming. "That's not fair."

Neighbor Debbie Dickinson said the odors permeate area homes, making some sick, especially when it's warm, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

The dump's operators "are working diligently to ensure that only approved material is accepted in the landfill," said Robert Moore, a Frankfort lawyer who represents the property owners, as well as Cumberland Elkhorn Coal & Coke, which leased the dump in 2005 and runs it through a subsidiary, Ralph Avenue Recycling.

"They have hired a company to monitor for odors," he said of Cumberland Elkhorn. "To date, no odors have been detected by this company."

But why the dump is still open for business is a "mystery" to environmental attorney Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council.

As an older landfill that lacks modern protections, he said it should have been closed or upgraded by 1992, a year after the state revamped its solid waste rules, reports The Louisville Courier-Journal.

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