Do you smell that?

Published 10:49 pm Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Residents in the Nansemond Parkway area usually have the pleasant smell of coffee and chocolate coming from the manufacturing facilities along Wilroy Road.

However, they also catch an occasional whiff of the Southeastern Public Service Authority regional landfill. And that smell has been worse over the past few weeks, some residents say.

Resident Frankie Morgan can see the landfill from his home, between the houses across the street and through the trees behind them. He said the smell hasn’t been as bad since the temperature dropped, but that it has been bad in the past.

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“The landfill was here before I was,” Morgan said. “Nothing I can do about it.”

Councilman Leroy Bennett, who represents the area around the landfill, brought up the issue in last week’s council meeting. He suggested landfill employees may not be using daily cover, six inches of material that is dumped on top each day to minimize the odor of rotting trash.

“The law is that they are supposed to cover each day, and I think evidently they’ve been getting away from that,” Bennett said.

SPSA officials, however, say that’s not true.

“We would be so far out of regulation,” Tom Kreidel, SPSA spokesman, said. “Not using daily cover is not an option.”

Kreidel said employees at the landfill are not doing anything out of the ordinary, and mentioned the Department of Environmental Quality had recently done a routine inspection.

“Nothing different is happening,” Kreidel said. “We are doing everything we normally do to minimize that.”

Kreidel did acknowledge his office had received several phone calls about the smell, and said the authority is investigating why it has gotten worse. Kreidel speculated it has something to do with the wet weather.

“I have a feeling it’s a combination of wet trash and heavy barometric type weather,” Kreidel said. “The main thing is you have water raining on top of wet trash.”

Kreidel added that some smell is inevitable, especially for those who live closest to the facility.

“Some of it is unavoidable,” Kreidel said. “It’s a landfill.”