Odor complaints decrease

Published 9:40 pm Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Complaints regarding odor coming from the regional landfill have decreased in recent weeks, reported landfill officials at Wednesday’s meeting of the regional trash authority.

“The number of complaints has eased off considerably,” said Rowland Taylor, executive director of the Southeastern Public Service Authority.

For months, residents in the Nansemond Parkway and Wilroy Road areas have complained of a pungent odor in the area of the landfill. Many say they have suffered respiratory problems, nausea, headaches, dizziness and other ailments because of it.

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The Virginia Department of Environmental Quality issued a warning letter to SPSA in February, requiring it to devise a plan of action to contain the odor.

Taylor said landfill personnel are continuing to monitor complaints that do come in, and are keeping the measures implemented several months ago to combat the stench.

Suffolk Councilman Leroy Bennett, who represents the affected area, said the problem seems to have improved somewhat, but he still is receiving complaints from some of his constituents.

A report on the problem commissioned by the authority’s board is expected to be delivered in the next week, and it will be presented at the board’s May meeting. Bennett said he is looking forward to seeing the report.

In other business at the authority’s board meeting, consultant Warren Nowlin reported that a sale of the waste-to-energy plant in Portsmouth is expected to close on Thursday morning. The purchase price, roughly $150 million, will help the authority pay off more than half of its outstanding debt and divert more trash from the Suffolk landfill, eliminating the need to add another cell onto the landfill. After the sale, any trash delivered to the plant that cannot be converted into energy will be delivered to a non-SPSA landfill. Taylor has said that could also help eliminate the problem of odor emanating from the Suffolk landfill.