The state trash authority’s insurance company claimed this May that it’s not responsible for defending the authority against third-party claims for groundwater contamination in Ellington and odors complaints and bird droppings in Hartford’s North Meadows. The lawsuit filed in US District Court by American International Specialty Lines Insurance Company claims “it is not obligated under a Pollution Legal Liability insurance policy…to defend or indemnify,” the Connecticut Resource Recovery Authority in connection with the two third-party lawsuits.

The first lawsuit it refers to was filed by the Thompson Family Land Trust in February 2006 in Rockville Superior Court. The land trust located near the Ellington landfill alleges the leachate plume from the landfill migrated and polluted its property, including its groundwater. Click here to see the Environmental Protection Agency’s page on the landfill. The second lawsuit which was settled by the insurance company in March involved a group of merchants located in Hartford’s North Meadows. The lawsuit, filed in 2001, claimed the landfill has increased pollution, hurt business and devalued property. The case was settled this past March. CRRA spokesman Paul Nonnenmacher, said he doesn’t know how much the insurance company settled for, since CRRA was not involved. The federal lawsuit goes on to claim that CRRA “failed to properly disclose the existing or expected pollution conditions,” at the Hartford landfill. The insurance company is entitled to cover property damage resulting from pollution conditions, which “do not include the alleged nuisance created by the height of the landfill.” While Nonnenmacher said he’s unable to comment on pending litigation, he was able to comment on issues raised by the lawsuit surrounding the closure of the Hartford landfill. Earlier this year, CRRA’s board of directors voted not to expand the Hartford landfill upwards. In addition CRRA decided to close the landfill in 2008. In closing the landfill one of CRRA’s main environmental concerns, is its proximity to the Connecticut River, Nonnenmacher said. CRRA Engineer Chris Shepard said the clay ground underneath the landfill and a synthetic cap on top of the landfill will prevent rainwater from getting into the groundwater below and a flood control system already in place prevents the river from reaching the landfill. In addition CRRA installed a groundwater control system 1997 along the perimeter of the landfill with four pumping wells that extract groundwater from the landfill and discharge it to the sanitary sewer system, Shepard said. Read more about the closure of the Hartford landfill by clicking here.CRRA already has a groundwater monitoring system in place at the Ellington landfill where the leachate plume has not changed in size or shape since the program began, Nonnenmacher said. CRRA still has not formally responded to the lawsuit filed in early May by American International Specialty Lines Insurance Company.