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Owner of Landfill Loses Part of Case to State

A Rock Island County judge has ruled the current owner of the Taylor Ridge Landfill is responsible for numerous and chronic environmental violations.

Michelle O'Neill reports the order stems from charges filed by the state nearly five years ago.
Midwest Methane, based in Chicago, bought the Taylor Ridge landfill 7 years ago in a tax sale after the former owner, ESG Watts, failed to pay property taxes for 3 years.

Midwest Methane drilled wells to extract gas from the buried waste, but never built the facilities to collect it.

In 2010, the Illinois EPA asked the attorney general to take the company to court after an inspection revealed land, water, & air pollution on and around the property, which is located just south of Andalusia Road.

Rock Island County State's Attorney, John McGehee, says last year, Midwest Methane agreed to secure the property, remove heavy machinery and equipment, clean up litter on and around the site, and dredge a neighbor's retention pond.

But Midwest Methane didn't complete the pond work until Wednesday afternoon, less than a day before Thursday's hearing. And the machinery and equipment are still sitting there. In addition, the neighbor says the contractor who dredged the pond destroyed part of his dike.

The company owes Rock Island County $400,000 in property taxes. And to complicate the case even more, Midwest Methane filed for bankruptcy two years ago.

Another hearing is scheduled for next month.

Officially, Michelle's title is WVIK News Editor which really just means she wears many hats, doing everything there is to do in the newsroom and around the radio station. She's a multimedia journalist and serves as Assignment Editor, reporter, radio news producer, copy editor, announcer, news anchor/host, and photographer. She also writes and produces content for WVIK.org and social media and trains interns.
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