It is difficult to imagine a situation more tangled and frustrating than that involving the old Crossridge Landfill in Jefferson County.
It has been closed for years, but it still continues to generate both environmental and legal problems.
Now, county Health Department officials say they cannot seem to arrange to get on the landfill property to conduct an inspection that is required by law.
Whatever the reason is for that, the problem needs to be corrected immediately.
Health department officials were briefed on the obstacle a few days ago.
Carla Gampolo, who works on the agency’s environmental team, explained the department is required by law to inspect the landfill once every three months.
She added that attempts have been made to work with the landfill property’s owner and his attorney, “but we’ve either gotten no response, been told they’ll look into it or given a date (that is not practical for the inspection).
State Environmental Protection Agency officials “know we are being strung along as far as being able to do our required duties,” added Mark Maragos, director of environmental health for the department.
Inspections at the landfill property are more than merely formalities.
In August 2019, it was discovered that leachate from the site was being pumped over a hill above Cross Creek.
Obviously, that is both an environmental and a public health concern.
A judge already has ordered that a way be found to dispose of the leachate properly.
Whether that is being done could be learned through an inspection by health department personnel. Their visit also could reveal any other issues that need to be addressed.
Such an examination needs to be made as soon as possible, without any further delays.
If that requires the health department to seek a court order to gain access to the property, as has been discussed, so be it.