Federal judge orders Puerto Rico landfill to stop operating

August 9, 2022 GMT

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — A federal judge has ordered a town in northern Puerto Rico to immediately stop receiving waste at a 56-year-old landfill and take other actions to help protect the environment and people’s health.

The order filed by the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency also requires that Toa Alta cover the landfill’s exposed areas and implement a system to manage storm water and contaminated liquid flowing from it.

Officials said most of the landfill does not have a protective liner on the bottom, noting that such landfills were ordered closed by 1998.

Municipal officials had earlier announced that it stopped using the landfill as of April 2022, and that it will continue to take action on the remaining requirements.

The case stems from a complaint that the U.S. Justice Department filed against Toa Alta in February 2021 that stated the landfill’s conditions posed an “imminent and substantial endangerment.”