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Residents upset after discovering homes were built above city’s old landfill

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Posted at 10:11 PM, Apr 23, 2014
and last updated 2014-04-24 00:11:54-04

MESQUITE, Nevada - Homeowners in the Highland Hills subdivision say their homes are being torn apart, and it’s because they were built on a landfill.

It’s been going on for several years. The neighborhood was built in 2005, but it wasn’t until early this year residents discovered the reason for the cracks, the uneven roads and the overpowering methane gas.

“Our driveway is steeper, it’s coming apart,” homeowner Barbara Lacher said. “We’re finding out that there are some serious things wrong with this subdivision, it’s a sick subdivision.”

Homeowners said they went to the city looking for answers, but didn’t get any. An independent engineering firm bored holes in the area and showed the city’s old landfill is sitting about 20 feet underneath eight of the homes.

Original documents of the development by RFMS, Inc. show the builders knew there was a landfill in the area, and a letter form the Nevada Department of Public Health urged developers to avoid several proposed lots because they were too close to the landfill edge.

"Everybody is just so sad,” homeowner Jim Stroup said. “Our kids now are almost crying, they’re worried each day about us.”

Stroup said RFMS, Inc. has come in and made some repairs to shore up sliding houses, but they want answers, particularly from the city about how this happened, and why no one disclosed it.

"I’m disappointed at the city, and how they’re handling everything,” Stroup said. “They’ve known about it for four months, haven’t done a thing.”

City manager Andy Barton said the council is discussing the issue, but wouldn’t comment on those talks.

“There’s a long history with this issue,” Barton said. “The city is talking to all the parties involved. We’re not quite ready to make a statement at this point.”

Meanwhile the cracks get larger, and homeowners worry it’s only a matter of time before the homes get condemned.