September 11, 2013 08:26AM
By ERIKA NIEDOWSKI
JOHNSTON — The town of Johnston is getting $5 million more under two out-of-court settlements over a dispute about odors from the Central Landfill, officials announced Tuesday.
Mayor Joseph Polisena and Broadrock Renewables, an energy company that uses gas from the landfill to generate electricity, said the two sides reached an agreement under which the company will pay $3 million to the town over 20 years.
In connection with that settlement, the quasi-public agency that operates the landfill, Rhode Island Resource Recovery Corp., will also pay the town $2 million.
The settlements are in addition to the $3 million that Resource Recovery agreed last month to pay to settle a 2011 lawsuit and compensate residents for their suffering. That money will be used to build a new high school athletic complex.
Over the summer, the town ordered Broadrock to shut one of its plants after resident complaints about an increase in odors and a building inspector visited the plant and found pipes in disrepair.
The town and Broadrock have agreed that an independent firm will manage gas collection at the site — what Polisena said had been a “sticking point” in their discussions.
“We feel very confident that it’s a new day,” the mayor said at a news conference at the municipal court building.
Polisena said in addition to financial compensation for the town, the agreement provides assurances that gas will be collected in a way that addresses concerns over the smell.
The $5 million announced Tuesday will go into a fund to be used to make capital improvements to town buildings, Polisena said.
Under the agreement, violation notices citing Broadrock are being withdrawn, and permits allowing the firm to operate again are being issued.
Broadrock Renewables President Doug Wilson said the company is making some modifications to its facility and expects to be up and running within a few days.
“We want to be partners with the town of Johnston as well as Resource Recovery, and we want to do a good job,” he said.
In a separate incident, an explosion at another Broadrock plant at the landfill started a small fire in July.