DOTHAN, Ala. (WDHN) — The entire Dothan landfill is shut down and has been since Friday because of a recent court ruling, which has caused Dothan to once again ship its trash out of state across the Florida line.
A recent court ruling could mean the city of Dothan could be forced to shut down its landfill expansion.
That ruling reversed a permit from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) that the city of Dothan needs to operate its dump expansion.
A letter sent to the city of Dothan regarding its dump expansion from ADEM states that the circuit court vacated its previous order and reversed the order of the agency approving the city’s solid waste disposal facility permit. The city may not dispose of solid waste until a new permit for the expanded area is obtained. As of now, the city must follow the closure requirements for these areas.
Another letter was sent to the city, this one from the lawyer representing Bobby Lewis and other Dothan landowners on the complaint. The letter advised the city that continuing to dispose of solid waste in the landfill expansion portion without a valid permit is unlawful and may result in litigation that could require them to remove the waste or end the landfill expansion for good.
It was almost a decade ago when Dothan started running out of space at the city landfill and wanted to expand. That’s also when the back and forth between the city and landowners started.
Landowners who live nearby the dump believe the waste has brought major health and environmental problems, so they’ve been fighting against the expansion.
In March, the Alabama Supreme Court refused to hear the case regarding the city’s dump expansion, meaning the previous decision by the Court of Civil Appeals in October of 2021 was upheld.
That decision was that commissioners of ADEM shouldn’t have granted Dothan a permit allowing its landfill to expand.
According to the attorney representing the landowners, David Ludder, now that the permit has been invalidated by the circuit court, the city has the opportunity to apply again for a permit with ADEM, or it can abandon the idea of re-permitting that facility and find another way to dispose of its waste another way.