PETERSBURG, VA (WWBT) - Residents of Petersburg say there's a big stink filling the air on a daily basis, and it's all coming from the landfill.
While officials say the smell in the air is still safe to breathe, neighbors like Andrea Huntjens want the city to do something about it.
"At 8:30 in the morning, it still was a wretched smell," said Huntjens. "The problem doesn't seem to be going away."
Without question, if you asked this agitated crowd about the air in Petersburg, they'd say it pretty much stinks.
"We'd get inside the house, and we would breathe that foul-fetid stuff for three hours before it would go away," said another concerned resident.
That's why Rob Guidry of Container First Services and the department of Environmental Quality held a meeting Thursday night to discuss the root of this smelly problem and how they are managing it.
"We understand a landfill in the middle of the city is a tough predicament for everybody," said Guidry.
Guidry says they are required by federal law to manage any harmful gases coming from the landfill.
"We monitor Methane and we burn Methane off we do that through tiki flares as well as additional wells we've added to the Land fill to contain the methane levels," said Guidry.
As for managing the rotten egg smell of the sulfide coming from the landfill, Guidry added that they are not required by law to monitor it.
"By law, there is nothing out there that requires us to do it, nor do we have the means of understanding what levels we'd be monitoring, because it's not a regulation," said Guidry.
The DEQ says they did a compliance review in June and say while the air may smell bad, the gas levels meet regulation.
Guidry says the landfill is also covered with soil every day when new waste arrives and that it's natural for foul smells to vary at different points of the day, but when asked why the smells seem to be so strong throughout the city:
"I'm not sure," said Guidry.
To put it simply, Guidry says trash stinks, but the city is asking for a fresh perspective from residents on how to alleviate these foul odors in the future.
"We will continue to work through this process and the people need to be patient as we've built this landfill and taken the ability to handle the regions waste," said Guidry.
Guidry says other smells in the Tri-cities area also contribute to the overall odor in Petersburg. he also says there are plans to expand the landfill in the next 12 to 18 months.
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