Rapid City cattle ranchers taking landfill to court

The Early evening news on KOTA Territory TV
Published: Mar. 24, 2023 at 5:59 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - Many people have expressed concern over the environmental impact of the Rapid City Landfill, which sits just on the edge of town. Now, a new lawsuit is being brought forward to address the issue.

The dispute began over two decades ago, when the city purchased land between the landfill, and property owned by local ranchers Ross and Fern Johnson.

Attorney Kathleen Barrow, representing the Johnsons, said that the land was meant to serve as a buffer area to keep potential toxins off the ranch. She said that since then, there have been several instances of environmental hazards, that made their way onto the Johnsons’ property.

“They’re suing because the landfill is allowing service water to drain from the landfill onto the property and is also allowing trash and other things to blow onto their property,” Barrow said.

Late last year, the Johnsons hired an environmental engineering company to test the water and the soil. They say the tests revealed hazardous material.

However, Deputy City Attorney Carla Cushman insists there’s no merit to the Johnsons’ allegations, and that the landfill is heavily regulated.

“The landfill operates in accordance with its various permits with the state,” Cushman said. “There are lots of rules and regulations that a landfill has to meet, and we are following those rules.”

The city is expecting to answer the litigation in the next few weeks before the case goes to court.