Odor plan revealed

Published 11:25 pm Friday, March 12, 2010

Residents who have been plagued by an overwhelming stench in the area around the Southeastern Public Service Authority landfill may finally be getting some relief soon.

The Authority announced Friday its action plan to respond to a warning letter it received last month from the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality. That department determined the odor was coming from the regional landfill in Suffolk, and gave the trash authority 20 days to come up with an action plan.

Residents have complained of a noxious odor in the Nansemond Parkway and Wilroy Road area since late fall. Many say they have suffered respiratory problems, nausea, headaches and dizziness because of it.

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The trash agency has contracted with SCS Engineers of Norfolk to conduct an in-depth air quality study to identify the source of the odor. The study will include collecting air samples for laboratory and field analysis, as well as samples from areas surrounding the facility, and modeling local air dispersion patterns. The company will present its findings to the authority’s board of directors at its April or May meeting.

In addition, the board instructed landfill staff to continue efforts to mitigate odor, including covering incoming waste more frequently and expediting the installation of a temporary gas collection system in Cell VI.

In a press release, SPSA executive director Rowland Taylor said the authority has made mitigation of the odor its top priority.

“SPSA takes pride in being a good neighbor to all communities that host our facilities,” Taylor said. “We will work closely with local and state regulatory officials to address this situation as soon as possible.”

The authority is asking Suffolk residents who notice an objectionable odor to call 417-5251 to report the date, time and location they smelled the odor. Doing so will help the consultant firm collect air samples for analysis.