Leachate Causes Concern Among Residents Living Near Landfill

Leachate, an industrial pollutant created when water passes through landfills, has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a pollutant that landfill operators are required to control. However, the risk that leachate may escape from those operators’ containment measures still causes concern for residents living in the vicinity of landfills. And for good reason: when leachate does seep into the local water supply, it can cause a wide range of harms and be difficult to get under control.

As explained in this blog post, leachate is produced in landfills under normal circumstances. In landfills, water plays a role in the gradual breakdown of garbage. Rainwater passes through every landfill; in many cases so does wastewater from industrial and residential sources. As it does, it picks up a wide variety of contaminants – from organic compounds, parasites, and bacteria to inorganic compounds, chemicals, salts, and other substances. When that contaminated water seeps out of landfills and into the public water supply, it can bring all those contaminants with it, polluting drinking water and causing any number of ailments.

Most residential homeowners should have their water tested regularly to check for compounds that may indicate environmental pollution or plumbing breakdowns. Aside from getting regular water checks, however, it can be a challenge to identify leachate in the water supply. That can lead to a delay in communities discovering a breakdown in containment measures, allowing leachate to seep from a landfill for a prolonged period of time. 

In those cases, lawyers with experience holding governing authorities responsible for their public works obligations may be able to win compensation. And if a case involving leachate is filed in your vicinity, it’s a good idea to check your home’s plumbing immediately and join the action if it’s warranted.