Gas odor at landfill no cause for concern

Published 10:32 pm Monday, December 14, 2009

An odor of gas in the area around the Southeastern Public Service Authority regional landfill Monday should not worry people who live or work in that area, according to SPSA officials.

The smell of gas around the landfill is a result of work being done on an odor control system by U.S. Energy and Biogas and is not a sign of a natural gas leak, SPSA spokesman Tom Kreidel stated in a press release early Monday afternoon.

The company contracts with SPSA to burn methane gas created by the decomposition process and turn it into energy. The chemical mercaptan is added during the process. Mercaptan is the same chemical that is used to give natural gas its “rotten egg” smell.

The chemical is non-toxic and harmless, but the odor that spread into the surrounding community caused some concerns among residents and the evacuation of a day-care facility.

Jeff Zeigler, a spokesman for The Childrens’ Center off Wilroy Road, confirmed early Monday afternoon that the facility had been evacuated for a short time that morning because of the smell of gas.

“I the past, we’ve had problems with a heating unit, and they were just being cautious,” he said.

About 40 children and adults were evacuated for about 30 minutes and then returned to the building after firefighters checked things out and explained the situation at the landfill, he added.

The odor in the community is expected to last for the next couple of days, according to Kreidel.