Yes, if the public dump acts as a general nuisance, limiting both a resident’s enjoyment and use of the neighboring property.  A public dump’s status as a government-run entity does not protect it against liability due to property damage.

What Factors Make a Public Dump a Nuisance?

Everyone knows about the negative effects of public dumps: concentrated pollution, noxious smells, loud noises, harmful chemicals, and pest infestation to name a few.  However, public dumps are not considered to be nuisances per se (i.e. the existence of a public dump alone does not make it a nuisance).  In order to determine if a public dump is a nuisance, a court normally looks into a number of factors:

  • The location of the dump
  • General maintenance and conditions inside the dump
  • Amount of outside exposure to harmful agents caused by the dump (e.g. smoke coming into contact with neighboring property)
  • Existence of alternate dump sites or locations
  • Depreciation in value of neighboring property
  • Overall utility of having a particular dump site vs. negative effects

Assuming a Nuisance is Proven, How Can One then Claim Damages?

Once a nuisance has been proven, one also has the additional task of showing some form of damage resulting from the nuisance.  For example, it isn?t enough to say that a public dump produces harmful smoke and fumes.  It must also be shown that these fumes caused damage to the property (e.g. smoke discoloring exterior house paint, fumes contaminating plants and water, etc.).

How Can a Lawyer Help Me?

If you are a homeowner whose property has been damaged by a nearby public dump, you should consult with a property lawyer to determine any possible claims you may have.  An attorney can not only clue you in on local nuisance laws, but also examine the possible success of suing the public dump situated in your area.