Residents want odor addressed before landfill expands

By Melissa Correa - bio | email
Posted by Terry Alexander - email

CHESTERFIELD, VA (WWBT) – A meeting that could pave the way for an expansion the Shoosmith landfill in Chesterfield County is set for Tuesday night. But any go-ahead is being met with opposition from some people who live near-by, who want the current smell contained before anything new is added.

Shoosmith owns a granite quarry on-site and has permission to dump waste there- just not while there is active mining. But county approval could change that. For three months, the planning commission has put off deciding whether Shoosmith can use what it owns.

"It's not an expansion of the landfill," said Shoosmith vice-president Fletcher Kelly. "It just allows us to place it in another part of the landfill that's currently restricted."

Shoosmith needs permission to add waste into the quarry. It also wants out-of-state trash to be distributed throughout the landfill, rather than kept to one area. Resident Tim Vermaatan has no problem with Shoosmith's request; he just wants the stink to stop first.

"I don't need anything hi-tech," said Tim Vermaatan. "All I need is my nose. If I smell the trash it tells me something's not being done."

In the last six years, the Department of Environmental Quality's received more than 240 complaints from area neighborhoods like arbor landing. Phrases like "putrid rotting garbage" and "pungent landfill stench stinks to high heaven" describe the number one problem residents have with Shoosmith.

But the odor has yet to spark a violation with the DEQ.

"They're telling us they're doing everything they can to fix the smell, but we're not seeing any results," Vermaatan said.

Just recently Shoosmith confined daily dumps to a smaller space, and more dirt covers the pile.

"I will wait and see. I will wait and see," said Vermaatan.

Tonight's planning commission meeting could go one of two ways- it could approve the changes to the landfill or it could defer it for another 30 days and require a public hearing.

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