In Will County v. Village of Rockdale, 2018 Il App (3d) 160463 (July 5, 2018), the Illinois Appellate Court affirmed grant of waste transfer station siting, holding that a Village had jurisdiction over the matter, an amendment to the siting application was appropriate and the applicant had met its burden regarding criteria for siting of such a transfer station.

A private company, Environmental Recycling and Disposal Services, Inc. (ERDS), filed a siting application for a pollution control transfer station as provided in the Illinois Environmental Protection Act (Act). A hearing on the application was held and the Hearing Officer found that ERDS failed to meet its burden regarding several statutory criteria. The Village of Rockdale (Rockdale), where the site would be located, then approved the application, imposing conditions regarding the criteria identified by Hearing Officer as having not been met. Two parties, Will County and another private company, Waste Management of Illinois (Waste Management), appealed Rockdale’s decision to the Illinois Pollution Control Board (IPCB or Board). The Board affirmed Rockdale’s decision. Will County and Waste Management appealed the Board ruling to the Appellate Court, which affirmed the Board’s decision.

First, the Appellate Court, Third District ruled that ERDS had complied with notice requirements when it filed its petition thereby triggering the Village’s jurisdiction over this siting proceeding.  Relying on earlier appellate court authority, the Third District decided that the Act did not require that the notice provide detail as to the specific volume of waste that would be processed at the site on a daily basis, information that was later provided at the hearing on the application.

Second, the Third District decided that ERDS appropriately amended it application only one time, as so limited by the Act.

Third, the conditions Rockdale imposed when is approved the siting application would help ERDS meet the criteria for such a waste transfer station, which promotes the letter and intent of the Act. ERDS in fact did meet its burden that: the subject transfer station was necessary to accommodate the waste needs of the area; the station was designed and located in such a manner so as to protect public health and safety; the plan for operating the station was designed to minimize risk of fire, spills and other operational accidents; and the station is consistent with the local waste management plan.

Take Away: Generally, challenging siting of a waste transfer station is an up-hill battle.  In this case, based on the evidence the siting applicant presented and Illinois case law, the Appellate Court did not have difficulty in affirming the granting of the siting application.  So long as the applicant carefully presents evidence, both facts and expert opinions, regarding the criteria for siting of a waste transfer station as set out in the Act and follows the rules for such a siting procedure, the applicant has a reasonably good chance of having its application granted and having success on appeal.

One of the things that sets Tressler LLP apart from other firms is that our local government lawyers can call on lawyers at the firm with helpful areas of focus, including environmental law. Please contact us if you have any questions.

Stephen T. Grossmark is the author of this article and represents clients in the areas of environmental law and sustainable development. He also provides counseling and litigation services regarding claims for personal injury and property damage related to environmental pollution and exposure to toxic materials, including on an industry wide basis.


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