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Landfill smell: There's 'no simple fix,' operator says

A manager of a landfill cited as being the source of a pervasive, foul odor told Town of Niagara officials that the company is taking necessary steps to clear the air but there's "no simple fix."

Joseph Zwirecki, general manager of Allied Waste Services, the 377-acre landfill that stretches from Niagara Falls Boulevard to nearly Portage Road, said his company has made progress in containing the smell.

Residents have complained about the sulfur, garbage-like odor that regularly wafts over the I-190 Niagara section of the Thruway and covers much of the commercial strip along Military Road.

Visitors to the Fashion Outlet of Niagara Falls have made remarks to store personnel about the smell and town officials are concerned it could hurt business.

An investigation by the State Department of Environmental Conservation pinpointed the source of the smell as the Allied site in October and DEC fined Allied $75,000.

Zwirecki told the Town Board on Dec. 6 that Allied is working closely with DEC officials to control the odor by completing daily odor patrols to address the problem. Weather conditions are monitored while repairs are made to loose or cracked pipes. Allied has spent $10 million since 2015 to cap some 45 acres there and will spend another $2.5 million to cap next year, Zwirecki said. He said an additional $5 million is earmarked for facility enhancement.

The site accepts non-hazardous construction and demolition debris to be dumped in the 13 acres that are active at Allied. The debris cover is topped with six inches of soil and the produced gas still escape. Zwirecki noted that 17 carbon filters were installed in 2017 at a cost of $200,000. A gas collection system has been burning gas for about a week and he said he feels it has been effective.

He said Allied is committed to addressing the odor, which he described as common of decomposing construction waste, and would continue to be proactive. He said he could not give the town a time frame for completion of the work.

Zwirecki stressed that the landfill is located in an industrial area where there are “many potential odor sources around.” The smell could be “sometimes, not us” and could be “coming from somewhere else,” he said.

Deputy Supervisor Charles Teixeira said he took a recent tour of the Allied landfill, and the source of the smell “was very difficult to find.” He said a nearby company in Niagara Falls that burns sewer sludge has a very visible smokestack that is emitting fumes.

“I don’t believe it’s (the smell) all from one source,” Teixeira noted.

Supervisor Lee Wallace added that the town environmental committee would be meeting at Allied next month.

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