Environmental group sues over asbestos product dumping

Michelle Massey Feb. 18, 2011, 8:46am

Van Dalen

A community action group and an environmental group have filed a lawsuit against a waste disposal facility for allegedly allowing illegal open dumping of asbestos products and other hazardous materials.

Citing the Resource and Conservation and Recovery Act, Oakville Community Action Group and Louisiana Environmental Action Network filed suit against Industrial Pipe Inc. and Riverside Recycling and Disposal on Jan. 18 in federal court in New Orleans.

Oakville Community Action Group is a non-profit corporation representing Oakville residents for the purpose of "preserving, protecting, and enhancing the environmental, health, and safety interests of its members."

The Louisiana Environmental Action Network states its organizational purpose is to preserve and protect Louisiana's land, air, water, and other natural resources.

The lawsuit argues that the defendants are in violation of the federal prohibition against open dumping because they have not controlled public access to the Industrial Pipe solid waste disposal facility, which adjoins the Oakville community in Belle Chasse. The facility is a more than 50-acre site on land owned by Industrial Pipe in Plaquemines Parish.

According to the lawsuit, the facility has areas of uncovered solid waste, large open piles of woodwaste, open ditches allowing stormwater contact with the waste and waste products that includes tires, drums of chemicals, medical waste, petroleum products, asbestos products and creosote treated products.

The action group and environmental group state that the facility is easily accessible to the Oakville community due to the close proximity (approximately 75 feet from residential property) and a lack of appropriate barriers.

The group's lawyer states that they have written to the defendant's counsel regarding the lack of barrier to public access to the landfill and regarding the asbestos dumping, but the defendant did not respond.

The environmental groups are asking the court to stop the defendants from disposing of or storing waste until the defendant is in compliance with federal and Louisiana regulations. The groups are also asking for an award of civil penalties, attorneys' fees and court costs.

The plaintiffs are represented by Corinne Van Dalen of Tulane Environmental Law Clinic in New Orleans.

U.S. District Judge Stanwood R. Duval, Jr. is assigned to the case.

Case No. 2:11-cv-00100

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