If you own a company, it is always important to comply with any applicable environmental laws involving clean air, clean water, waste disposal, and more. However, you may still be surprised to find your operation facing a legal action for environmental wrongs. These claims are often based on allegations of environmental nuisance and the claims can be valid even if you are in compliance with the relevant Washington state laws1 and federal environmental laws.2
What is an environmental nuisance?
Every property owner has the legal right to use and enjoy their property in a reasonable manner. This also means that an owner may not use their property in a way that interferes with another’s use or enjoyment of their own property. Nuisances can commonly include the following:
- Noise or excessive vibrations
- Air emissions and light pollution
- Foul odors
- Contaminants being discharged into water or soil
If you face a nuisance claim, you may believe you can simply defend against the allegations by demonstrating that your actions are in line with environmental laws and regulations. Unfortunately, this showing may not be enough to overcome the legal claim. For example, even if you have the necessary permits to emit smoke from your business and the quality of the smoke is in line with environmental emissions standards, a neighbor may still file a nuisance claim if the smoke prevents them from opening windows or using their own yard.
Penalties for environmental nuisance
There are many types of penalties if you are found liable for environmental nuisance. Such legal penalties can include:
- An injunction, which is a court order to eradicate the nuisance;
- Compensation for a decrease in value of the neighbor’s property;
- Compensation for personal harm or injury to the neighbors;
- Compensation for the loss of enjoyment and use of their property.
Contact an experienced Tacoma environmental law attorney today
If you are facing any type of environmental claim, you need an attorney on your side who thoroughly understands this area of law. Call a Tacoma environmental law lawyer at the Dickson Frohlich Phillips Burgess today at 253-572-1000 for a consultation.