<img height="1" width="1" style="display:none" src="https://www.facebook.com/tr?id=192888919167017&amp;ev=PageView&amp;noscript=1">
Friday, June 2, 2023
June 2, 2023

Linkedin Pinterest

City of Yakima offers to resolve claim over former landfill

Yakama Nation would be given $295,000 for cleanup of site


The city of Yakima has offered $295,000 to resolve a lawsuit filed in 2020 by the Yakama Nation over a former landfill on city property.

The Yakima City Council approved the $295,000 offer of judgment during a special meeting Nov. 29.

In an email dated Nov. 29, City Attorney Sara Watkins said, “The city does not admit to liability, but recognizes it may be in the interest of all parties to resolve the lawsuit without incurring additional fees and costs associated with a trial.”

As the litigation is ongoing, she declined to comment further. Attorneys for the Yakama Nation also declined to comment on pending litigation.

The former landfill sits on two parcels adjacent to the Yakima River east of North Eighth Street and north of East E Street. The area is part of the Boise Cascade mill site economic development project and the East-West Corridor.

The city used the land as a disposal site for solid waste between 1963 and 1972, when the Yakima County Health Department closed the landfill.

Subsequent surveys by the Department of Ecology found leaching of hazardous substances into the land, including heavy oils, lead, arsenic and nitrate. The department told Yakima in 2017 that the city was liable, and in 2018 ordered an action plan to remove the hazardous substances.

The Yakama Nation’s lawsuit, filed in October 2020 and amended in August 2021 in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, states that the Nation helped to select a remedial course of action for the hazardous materials found at the site but had not been reimbursed by the city for the time and costs associated with that response.

The lawsuit says the Yakama Nation’s response included participation in meetings, phone calls and emails with the Department of Ecology, the city and the Yakama Nation Fisheries program.

The Yakama Nation noted in the lawsuit that the Yakima River is a fishing place for tribal people, a right protected by treaty.

The amount of $295,000 approved by the City Council in November includes the Yakama Nation’s attorney fees and costs incurred through Nov. 1, according to the offer of judgment.

The city reserves its rights of appeal, according to the offer.

The filing said the Yakama Nation has until Wednesday to accept the offer.