The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality issued a proposed agreed order to Blue Ridge Landfill on Feb. 7 to resolve two citations issued by the state. The first was issued in October for a "nuisance odor" violation and was the first time the state identified the Fresno-based landfill as the alleged source of the odor wafting over west Pearland. The second citation, which was issued on Jan. 3, was for an alleged failure to comply with self-monitoring of surface emissions monitoring regulations, according to TCEQ documents.
The order calls for the landfill to pay a penalty of $43,712 and submit a plan for self-monitoring within 30 days of the order's effective date that would outline odor prevention best practices. The plan at a minimum would include odor minimization plans for a variety of sites and storage tanks, plans for 24-hour odor surveillance at the property line and at off-site locations, procedures for responding to odor complaints, compliance with surface emissions monitoring requirements and detailed record keeping procedures.
The landfill may be eligible for a one-time deferment of $8,742 if the landfill "satisfactorily complies" with the provisions of the order within its listed time frame, according to TCEQ documents.
The landfill is also eligible to offset a portion of the penalty by performing or financially contributing to environmental programs through local governments or nonprofits, which can range from replacing old school buses with energy efficient ones to habitat restoration at the Armand Bayou Nature Center, according to the TCEQ site.
The landfill does not admit guilt by agreeing to the order or paying a penalty. The landfill can litigate provisions of the proposed agreed order and amend it prior to signing.
If the landfill does not agree to the order, the case can be referred to the Texas Attorney General's Office.
Once the landfill agrees, failure to comply could result in referral to the Texas Attorney General, increased penalties in future enforcement actions or other relief sought by the TCEQ.
Pearland residents can find more information about past citations, the order and other investigative material online at the city of Pearland's West Pearland Air Quality page, which also posts updates from the city's Odor Task Force meetings.