DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — A bitter battle over Dothan’s dump could soon make its way to the highest court in Alabama. A lot of garbage is at stake and if the city loses, it could cost taxpayers big bucks to start shipping their trash somewhere else.
In October the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled that a state commission should not have granted a permit for the city of Dothan’s landfill to be expanded.
Len White, Dothan’s City Attorney said on Thursday that their appeal on that ruling could be sent any day now to the Alabama Supreme Court.
It was almost a decade ago when the city of Dothan was running out of room at its landfill on Burkett road. With so little space, the city was paying to ship its trash out of state to Florida, costing almost a million bucks a year.
They decided to expand the landfill and purchased a 180-acre property next door, at a cost of $900,000 dollars.
That didn’t sit well with people nearby, Bobby Lewis and his neighbors filed a lawsuit hoping to stop the expansion from ever starting.
They claim there are marked and unmarked gravesites belonging to Black and Native American people, buried there decades ago. They say the expansion brought the health and environmental problems of a dump too close to nearby residents.
A court ruling will decide whether or not the city of Dothan will have to close its doors to one of its landfills and start transporting that trash back to Florida. Which will ultimately cost the taxpayers a trash load of money.
Last year the Alabama Department of Environmental Management Commission seemed to settle the matter when it overturned a decision that denied the city’s permit. Dothan then opened its new landfill in hopes that the decision would hold.
Neighbors continued their fight and in October the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals ruled that the state environmental commission should not have granted the permit.
This brings us to the now, the city of Dothan plans to appeal that decision in Alabama Supreme Court and the city expects to send that appeal any day now.
If the Alabama Supreme Court doesn’t rule with the city of Dothan, the case could go on to federal court or the landfill could be shut down permanently.
If that happens, the city would once again have to start transporting its garbage somewhere else.
Keep on WDHN News and we’ll keep you updated as this case moves forward.