BY BUDDY NEVINS
At the same time Waste Management is trying to win hundreds of millions of dollars in Broward waste contracts, the company is wrestling with dozens of violations involving the smell of its towering mountain of trash along Florida’s Turnpike.
Broward County Waste regulators filed 37 pollution violations of air quality standards against the huge multi-national company since May.
The problems haven’t been cured at the sprawling trash mountain, euphemistically called “Monarch Hill” by the company. The complaints were repeatedly filed from May 18 through Oct. 3.
Under environmental laws, the company faces penalties not to exceed $15,000 per violation.
The company was accused of “causing, suffering, allowing or permitting the discharge of air pollutants from the Monarch Hill landfill causing or contributing to an objectionable odor beyond the landfill property boundaries.”
I would think the problems controlling air pollution would be a factor in signing waste disposal contracts.
Not in Broward, where Waste Management’s Wheelabrator Technologies is actively and, in some cases, successfully signing up cities right now for waste disposal agreements.
Meanwhile, the company is seeking to expand the landfill. That prompted the creation of a Facebook page by opponents.
The page states:
“Despite Waste Management’s marketing ploy to rebrand the landfill after a butterfly in 2011 from its age old name of Mount Trashmore, they have not been able to dispose of the negative impacts this landfill has on its community and the environment. Waste Management is currently under investigation by Broward County for repeated violations based on numerous complaints, while at the same time seeking to expand their capacity laterally into the neighboring communities. Tell Broward County to deny Waste Management’s request to expand the Monarch Hill Landfill so that the waste in Broward is more properly disposed of through diversion and recycling which will create jobs, and improve the environment and quality of life for all Broward residents.”
The disconnect between government and residents is most striking in Coconut Creek. That city has been most affected by the pollution, which is carried into homes and businesses on winds that blow from the east.
Yet although many of the current complaints were filed by folks in Coconut Creek, City Manager David Rivera is negotiating with the company for a new five-year waste contract.
This smelly deal being planned without any discussion of the odor problem proves that city hall stinks as bad as the landfill in Coconut Creek.