Lawsuit filed claiming Rapid City’s landfill could pollute Rapid Creek

Rapid City's landfill is the target of a lawsuit claiming pollution can spread to nearby ranch land.
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 6:26 PM CDT
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RAPID CITY, S.D. (KOTA) - A lawsuit has been filed against the City of Rapid City and the landfill for trespassing and causing a nuisance after nearby ranchers say the city polluted and damaged their land.

The ranchers are currently not using the land closest to the landfill for their livestock, due to the concern of harmful elements from the alleged pollution.

After environmental testing, a Washington state law firm claims that the process the landfill uses for trash brought in, along with the way trash cells are opened and closed, could put the ranch property, and even Rapid Creek at risk for pollution.

“We believe that what is happening is that storm water comes onto the Johnson property then goes into a tributary on their property and ends up in rapid creek,” said Kathleen Barrow, a partner with Fox Rothschild law firm.

“And our greatest concern is the pollutants are pollutants that the EPA is coming out with standards right now called PFAS, for what you’ve known is forever chemicals. And its not only a concern I think for our clients, but if its ending up in Rapid Creek I think its a concern for the residents of Rapid City in general,” David Crooks, a partner with Fox Rothschild law firm said.

If the ranchers win the lawsuit, possible solutions could be to build an addition to the end of the landfill’s property to help stop the pollution from occurring, along with more monitoring of the landfill in an attempt to reduce future pollution.