The City of Cleburne and Johnson County have agreed to a mediated settlement with Harrington Environmental Services, LLC, for the company to cease its local septic and composting operations.
The agreement puts an end to several years of Harrington Environmental Services’s practice of distributing septic and composting materials on the property at 7501 County Road 1009. The company would collect septic and compost material containing animal matter and then spray or spread those materials in an open field. The City and County argued these operations posed threats to the local water supply.
“This is a big win for the residents of Cleburne and Johnson County,” Cleburne Mayor Scott Cain said. “Not only does it prevent the opportunity for harmful pollutants to reach our waterways, it also stops the foul practice of composting animal material. The agreement goes even further in that it prevents any future septic and composting operations on the land regardless of ownership.”
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) permitted the company’s operations. As part of the settlement, Harrington Environmental Services will request the TCEQ to revoke or take other action necessary to end the company’s registered operations on the property.
“This was a great collaborative effort between the County and the City,” Johnson County Judge Roger Harmon said. “We are glad the company has agreed to settle this matter rather than draw out a legal battle and grateful we can put people at ease with regard to protecting their health and wellbeing.”
In partnership with the County Attorney’s Office, the settlement comes after joint lawsuits were filed by lead attorney James Parker and his colleagues at the firm of Lloyd Gosselink on behalf of the City of Cleburne and Johnson County, one versus Harrington Environmental Services, LLC, and the other versus the TCEQ. The settlement reflects discussions over the former lawsuit. While the City and County won the latter lawsuit, the state agency is seeking appeal. The results of the settlement will reach the same outcome the City and County were seeking from both lawsuits: the end of a practice deemed harmful by local leadership and the community.
“We will always protect our families, our land, and our water supply,” Johnson County Commissioner Rick Bailey said. “The County and City fought hard for the people and together we were able to prevail.”