Lansing Township Sues BWL Over Contamination Costs - WLNS TV 6 Lansing - Jackson | Your Local News Leader

Lansing Township Sues BWL Over Contamination Costs

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(WLNS) - A federal court battle could ensue between two mid-Michigan entities.

Lansing Township has filed a lawsuit against the Board of Water and Light
seeking damages for an environmental issue.

The dispute starts here of all places: the North Lansing landfill just south of Groesbeck Park in Lansing Township.

BWL has owned this land for years.

When the Department of Environmental Quality found traces of hazardous substances in the groundwater BWL had to build a wall that essentially separated the contamination area from that water.

Which they did.

But it was expensive.

Now the big question is "who pays for what"?

Some construction equipment and a few mounds of sand.

It doesn't look like there's much beyond this chain link fence but the twenty acre landfill it protects is at the center of a federal lawsuit.

Lansing Township Supervisor Kathleen Rodgers says, "They should be responsible for the entire cost."

Reporter: "All of it?"

Rodgers: "All of it."

Lansing Township supervisor Kathleen Rodgers says the Board of Water and Light should pay for the landfills new drainage system which separates drinking water from hazardous chemicals that she says wouldn't be a problem if BWL didn't operate on the site.

The new system costs upwards of $12 million.

"You caused this problem--you contaminated the site--you are the responsible party," Rodgers said.

But Ingham County Drain Commissioner Patrick Lindemann says the township has contributed to the problem as it continues new development projects

its groundwater enters the landfill and pushes pollution deeper into the ground.

"They still have an obligation to pay their share. It's the township that's generating the surface water, not the Board of Water and Light," says Lindemann. 

Lindemann says the Board of Water and Light was only doing what it had to do here at the landfill and says Lansing Township should share some of the burden in keeping its citizens safe.

"The township has a legal responsibility to protect the health safety welfare and convenience of its citizens," says Lindemann.

Lindemann says in this case that means paying their share of the drain project.

Lansing township officials say right now they're on the hook for the majority of the $12 million project while BWL is only expected to pay about a million dollars.

Drain commissioner Lindemann said the township can't afford to pay that amount.  He believes that's why the township is putting up this legal fight.

Nonetheless they plan to continue with the lawsuit.

BWL officials say because this is a pending lawsuit they can't comment.

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