Sussex landfill offers new timeline on getting rid of off-site odor

Sussex landfill offers new timeline on getting rid of off-site odor

SUSSEX, VA (WWBT) - Numerous neighbors from Prince George to Disputanta are furious over a horrible stench that's traveling miles away from a landfill in Sussex County. Now the state is getting involved, telling the company to make changes or else.

"It's my health that really concerns me more," said Wilda Rolley. She and her friends live miles away from the landfill in Sussex, but they said it's the source of their many frustrations. "I've been here since 1971. I've suffered more upper respiratory illnesses, sore throats, burning eyes in the last year than I probably have all my life," she added.

The smell is another problem.

"Really, really bad," Christina Marconi said.

"You can hardly go outside," said Marguerite Bishop.

A violation notice from the State of Virginia informed Atlantic Waste Disposal of several problems back in December, including rainwater coming into contact with trash and then spilling into the wetlands. Also, sinkholes on top of the landfill have gas coming out of them.

"If the wells aren't operating properly, instead of extracting the gas, it could be exposed causing some off site odors," admitted Lisa Kardell with Waste Management. She said the company is investing some $70 million on improvements, including capping 60 acres of the landfill. "On top of where the trash is, as well as on top of the dirt that's on top of the trash," she explained.

After initial complaints of odors last year, the company said it would complete the first phase of capping by the end of 2015. "We got kind of behind with some additional rain from last year, the winter, as well as some unexpected third party issues we were having," Kardell added.

Now there's a new timeline. "The first 30 acres will be completed by the end of June, and additional 30 acres will be completed by the end of the year," she said.

Neighbors like Rolley will be waiting and watching. "I love my deck. Love sitting out there, love relaxing there. You can't do it. You can't even cook a steak," she said.

State law allows for a fine of more than $32,000 per day per violation, but landfill managers insist many of those concerns are now being rectified.

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