Authority lowers tip fee

Published 11:01 pm Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The regional trash authority outlined more measures it is taking to minimize the effects of odor at the Suffolk landfill at its board meeting Wednesday.

The Southeastern Public Service Authority board also voted a $5 decrease in the tipping fee, which is set to take effect Jan. 1.

Executive Director Rowland Taylor said the authority’s landfill gas contractor has stepped up its gas collection and begun using more material to cover the trash dumped in Cell VI.

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“They are pulling out more gas from the cell right now,” Taylor said, adding that the amount of cover being used “is far greater than what [the Department of Environmental Quality] normally requires.”

The report followed remarks by Suffolk Councilman Leroy Bennett at the beginning of the meeting, informing the board members that the odor’s frequency and intensity have increased lately, but still are not as strong as they were last winter.

“It isn’t as strong as it has been in the past,” Bennett said, adding that it was about an eight on a scale of one to 10 at one point last week.

More than a year has passed since residents in the Nansemond Parkway and Wilroy Road areas began complaining of an offensive odor. Some have said the odor has woken them from their sleep, made them vomit and become nauseated, or irritated their respiratory systems.

A study by the state Department of Environmental Quality blamed the authority’s Suffolk landfill for the stench. Taylor, however, continues to deny the authority is fully responsible for the problem.

“We’ve got a lot of things in that area that produce odor,” Taylor said, pointing out that chemical company BASF and swampland in the vicinity also are capable of producing foul smells.

After the meeting, however, Bennett criticized that view of the issue.

“That’s not true,” he said. “It’s coming from the landfill.”

Bennett also noted that BASF has attempted to involve the community, sending letters when spills occur and inviting residents to meetings at the facility. The trash authority has not done those things, Bennett said.

“We are continuing to monitor and maintain as best we can,” Taylor said.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to reduce the tipping fee for municipal waste to $145 per ton from the former rate of $150 a ton. The new rate, which localities pay to dump trash, goes into effect on Jan. 1.

“I think that is a good way to tip our hats to our communities,” said Chairman Joseph Leafe, who represents Norfolk on the board.

The change does not affect Suffolk, which pays no tipping fees in exchange for hosting the landfill.