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Can Methane Leak From Landfills?

Contact Our Wilmington Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. for More Information

Methane leaks are one of the largest sources of hazardous gases contributing to climate change. The methane that leaks from the 1,100 municipal landfills in this country is the equivalent of the methane emissions from 66 million passenger vehicles or 79 coal-fired power plants. You may be able to file a lawsuit if a methane leak from a landfill injures you or a loved one.

Garbage Does Not Decay Right After It Is Buried

Even when garbage is degradable foodstuffs, it may emit hazardous toxins that can make its way into the environment. Those who live in surrounding areas are vulnerable to illness and disease because they breathe in the toxins. Given that landfills are often located in areas near disadvantaged communities, minorities are far more susceptible and likely to develop illnesses from exposure to landfill toxins.

Decaying Foodstuffs Can Create Methane Gas

One of the main sources of methane from landfills is foodstuffs. Americans throw away a significant proportion of the food that they purchase. Up to 40 percent of American foodstuffs are discarded and sent to landfills. When the food is first buried in the landfill, it will not create much methane. The food may decompose within a year, where bacteria and methane may be produced.

Methane is produced from the breakdown of organic material. For example, cows produce methane through the digestion of their food. The food itself may also create methane when it degrades, and the food particles may create methane when fermenting.

Illnesses From Living Near Active Landfills

People living near a landfill may develop illnesses from inhaling toxic gas. They could suffer from the following conditions:

  • Respiratory disease
  • Seizures
  • Liver illness
  • Skin conditions

Although methane may not be carcinogenic, people living close to landfills may develop cancer from exposure to other toxic gases that emanate from the pit.

The Biden Administration has instituted new rules that require landfill owners and operators to estimate the emissions from their operations better. Now, the public can better understand the hazards emanating from certain landfills. However, there are not yet strong enough public rules to mitigate or eliminate many of the dangers associated with landfills.

You May Be Able to File a Lawsuit Against the Landfill Operator

If you or a loved one has been injured when living near a landfill, you may be able to file a lawsuit against the landfill operator. If it is a municipal landfill, you may be able to sue the city or local government. If a company operates the landfill, you can file a lawsuit against them. There are often class action lawsuits filed against landfill owners when people have been sickened in proximity to their properties. For example, numerous California residents have filed a mass tort lawsuit against the owners of the Chiquita Canyon Landfill after scores of people were sickened by gas and toxic emissions from the landfill.

Contact Our Wilmington Environmental Lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. for More Information

If you need to take legal action against the owner of a landfill, our Wilmington environmental lawyers at Jacobs & Crumplar, P.A. can help. Depending on the facts and circumstances of your case, we can explore the possibility of an individual or a class action lawsuit. Call 302-656-5445 or contact us online to schedule a free consultation. We have offices in New Castle and Millsboro, Delaware, and we work with clients in New Castle County, Kent County, and Sussex County.