Plan approved to stop odor

Published 8:51 pm Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Air quality officials last week approved an odor mitigation plan submitted to them by the regional trash authority.

Southeastern Public Service Authority executive director Rowland Taylor made the announcement at the authority’s board of directors meeting Wednesday.

“They feel like it’s right in order with what they feel needs to be done,” said Taylor of state Department of Environmental Quality staff.

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For months, residents in the Nansemond Parkway and Wilroy Road areas have complained of a pungent odor in the area of the landfill. Air quality staff at the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality determined the odor is coming from the landfill, and issued a warning to the authority. The authority was required to respond with a plan of action to quash the stench.

One potential problem noted at the landfill involved a gas collection line in the closed portion of the landfill.

“We did find out we had one issue with a pipe,” Taylor said. “It wasn’t happening all the time.”

Landfill gases were leaking from a certain place in the pipe sometimes, Taylor said. The problem has already been corrected by replacing a part. In addition, a fan was installed to move the gas down the pipe toward the BASF site, which converts the gas into energy.

The authority already has put several other measures in place to put a stop to the odor. Landfill staff have begun using a smaller area to distribute new trash coming to the landfill, and also have begun covering the trash sooner after it is compacted.

The authority also spent $40,000 for SCS Engineers to do an air quality study to determine what chemicals are being released, from where, the levels of chemicals released and what the health risks are.

Scott Whitehurst, the landfill manager, said he has not noticed a change in odors at the landfill since he started working there about eight months ago.

“The odors there at the landfill are still the same odors we’ve noticed,” he said.

The report from SCS Engineers is expected in two to three weeks, Taylor said.

“It’s going to remain at the top of our priority list,” said Joseph Leafe of Norfolk, the chairman of the board.