INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana corporation has been ordered to bring an industrial dump site into compliance with local environmental regulations.
The Indiana Court of Appeals recently upheld a 2016 Marion County decision that directed FLM LLC to clean up Black Mountain, a towering man-made hill of fine, black sand across 2 acres in Indianapolis, according to The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/2rDPeBk ) reported. At its peak, the mound towers more than 50 feet above the surrounding area, with murky water that pools at its base and attracts huge groups of mosquitoes.
The 2-acre dome was left behind by International Recycling Inc., which began leasing the site from FLM in 1999. Court records show the company later abandoned the site after losing its contract with DaimlerChrysler in 2002. The company later filed for bankruptcy and had no money left to pay for the removal of the sand.
FLM sued the recycling company, DaimlerChrysler, and the recycling company’s insurance provider. In 2013, a trial court awarded $1.7 million from the insurance company to FLM.
Instead of putting the money toward cleaning up the site, FLM repaid itself almost $500,000 for lost rent, and spent more than $686,000 on attorney fees and more than $9,000 for environmental consulting. The company argues it wasn’t responsible for the cleanup and that it doesn’t have the money to do so.
The court said those weren’t reasons to abandon the work.
“A lack of ability to pay does not constitute a defense to a parking ticket or virtually any civil claim we can think of, much less to a lawsuit regarding an environmental scourge contained on the defendant’s own property,” the court order said.
Removing the more than 100,000 tons of sand is estimated to cost about $3.5 million, according to court documents.
Among the homeowners who live near the site is Roberta Hillery. She said Black Mountain has downgraded her property value and she can’t have family gatherings in her backyard because of the dirt and the bugs.
Information from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com