Landscaping Operation in Violation of IL EPA

According to documents filed earlier this month by Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan, Don Hamman Farms has some explaining to do.

As reported in October 23’s,  Don Hamman, owner and operator of Don Hamman Farms (a yard waste application operation in Kendall County’s Yorkville), denies allegations of violations against the Illinois Environmental Protection Act, including open dumping and  conducting a waste storage operation without permits, among other claims.  On Tuesday, October 13, Hammna’s attorneys from the firm Hinshaw & Culbertson requested “”strict proof” related to these complaints.

Madigan first filed a complaint in Kendall County court against Hamman’s operation in September 2008.  Then in May of 2009, Madigan filed a revised 4-count complaint against the landscape waste facility located on 2,300 acres of land on Route 71 in Oswego.

The primary complaint is that the landscape facility had spread layers of yard waste on its farm fields thicker than is permitted, and, when mixed with trash, caused odors and an increased fly population, suggesting fly breeding in the waste.

Madigan asks that Hamman pay a $50,000 penalty for every violation, plus an additional $10,000 for each day the violation continues.

According to Madigan’s amended complaint, the attorney general contends Don Hamman Farms allowed “thousands of pieces of plastic, metal, paper and miscellaneous debris mixed with landscape waste to be deposited in and around the site,” which is, basically, open dumping.

Don Hamman Farms responded by stating that “any landscape material received from several landscape waste transfer stations contains ‘a minimal amount of nonorganic litter,’ but the farm takes careful steps in removing nonorganic material before spreading landscape waste to its field.”

“Some litter fragments are inherent in the process and the presence of such litter fragments in material applied to farm fields does not constitute ‘open dumping,'” according to Hamman’s filing.

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