JONESBORO — A 17-year-old lawsuit against the city over landfill pollution has been dormant since 2017. But on Friday, Craighead County Circuit Judge Keith Crestman scheduled a trial for Dec. 7-8.
A group of 14 residents using the name Citizens Against More Pollution went to court in April 2003 to force the city to close its municipal landfill on Strawfloor Drive and to prevent the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality from granting a permit for a new landfill that would have been established a few yards northwest of the old dump.
The residents said in the lawsuit they saw “blue colored leachate streaming down the backside (south) of the landfill on or about March of 2002.” Testing of the fluid by a private lab showed excessive levels of arsenic and lead and other hazardous substances.
The city stopped accepting waste at the old landfill in 2005. The city invested $6 million in a partnership with the Craighead County Solid Waste Disposal Authority for a new facility. Legacy Landfill opened in 2006 off of Arkansas 1, near the Craighead-Poinsett County line.
Jonesboro also spent several million dollars since then to close and secure the old property and burn off methane.
In another lawsuit over landfill pollution, a judge in 2006 ruled the city had taken about 31 acres owned by Harvey Edwards by inverse condemnation, and ordered the city to pay Edwards $387,500. Edwards was ordered to transfer title to the tract at the corner of Parker Road and Strawfloor Drive to the city.
Edwards filed suit in June 2005, alleging the presence of methane on the land, at the intersection of West Parker Road and Strawfloor Drive, made it impossible to develop. The landfill is south and southwest of the Edwards property.
After remediation, the property was sold to St. Bernards Healthcare and is the site of St. Bernards Villa.
C.A.M.P attorney Hunter Hanshaw requested the trial date, City Attorney Carol Duncan said Friday. Hanshaw did not return a call Friday seeking more information.