Private clean-fill landfill in Richfield still non-compliant with DNR order

By Joe VanDeLaarschot

Oct. 12, 2018

Scenic Pit is seen Wednesday morning in Richfield.
John Ehlke/Daily News

RICHFIELD — A clean-fill landfill in the village that was issued a letter of non-compliance by the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, has still not met an agency imposed deadline to correct the issues cited in a letter dated Aug. 16 and signed by DNR Storm Water Specialist Brooke Robinson.

“It (the revised plan) has not been submitted yet,” Robinson said. “We’re going through an investigation to see if there are any other issues.”

In the Aug. 16 letter to Scenic Pit LLC managing partner Danah Zoulek, Robinson said the department staff noted July 23 the work being done at the Scenic Pit “is not consistent with the plans submitted to the department and approved for permit coverage.”

In the noncompliance letter, Robinson requested “a current plan that accurately represents the land disturbing activities ongoing and anticipated for the Scenic Pit site within seven days (by Aug. 23) via mail or email. Further enforcement actions may occur if you do not submit the documents within seven days.”

Robinson said Zoulek needed to revise the plan “to reflect the order of how she was (actually) doing things at the site.” When contacted Thursday morning, Zoulek said the plan revision was filed by the deadline, but what they sent to the DNR “was not what they were looking for.”

“So the way it works is that we are technically not in compliance, but we’re still permitted. The reality is this is all for storm water and erosion control and our prestorm water run off will equal the post-storm water run off so we aren’t changing the way the water runs off our property at all,” Zoulek said. “We’re not directing it to someone else’s property.”

The matter is further complicated because Zoulek said the property is being leased to a different company — Fill It Up LLC. She said, according to the lease, she was not supposed to be involved in the landfill’s operation, but stepped in to help clear up the matter when this controversy arose. She said one of the owners of the company leasing the landfill is Peter LaLonde.

“He is a resident of Richfield and is a concrete guy,” Zoulek said. “There was a misunderstanding between the DNR and Peter, which led to a misunderstanding between myself and Peter. I contacted the DNR to find out what they wanted exactly. It ended up being far more detailed than what I had originally thought.”

Zoulek said she had given the DNR the site revision previously and all they had to do was mark out the areas that have been disturbed on the original site plan, which is basically a topography map.

“What they were looking for this time was to actually have an engineer redo all of the topographical markings to show the difference between when we started and what the topography is now,” Zoulek said. “That involves a lot more engineering and is more costly. They are working on it right now. It is not something we can do overnight.”

Zoulek’s plan to operate the clean-fill landfill at the site of a former quarry has been highly controversial.

Last year, the Wisconsin Supreme Court filed a notice on the court’s website denying the village’s request for a hearing of their appeal of the earlier State Court of Appeals ruling in June 2017 that rejected Richfield’s efforts to halt Zoulek’s operation.

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals overturned a Washington County Circuit Court judge’s ruling in favor of the village in the dispute over the opening of the clean-fill landfill. Zoulek and Scenic Pit LLC sought a declaratory judgement that it need not comply with local approvals, especially the village’s zoning and construction storm water and erosion control ordinances and a permanent injunction restraining the village from interfering with the business.

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