Officials attempt to stifle smelly landfill in Orange County

- The manager of Orange County's Solid Waste Management described the county's plan to stifle the sulfuric gas that has been escaping from the landfill on Young Pine Road between 417 and Innovation Way in east Orange County.  The foul odor from the landfill has permeated through some east Orange County neighborhoods bringing about 50 hopeful and skeptical residents to listen to what the manager had to say.

"Not enough is being done, to be frank," said David Payne, a resident of nearby Avalon Park. "This whole thing is due to mismanagement of the landfill."

Part of the landfill is undergoing construction and manager Jim Becker says an outside consultant advised them to mix the construction and demolition debris with household waste as a more affordable approach and it's that combination, he says, that is creating a hydrogen sulfide emission, or rotten egg smell.

One by one, residents stated their frustration, their anger, and their demands. Becker says the county has already begun putting another 10 foot layer of garbage on top of what's already there and the entire landfill should be covered by September.

"I'm confident it will take care of the majority of the hydrogen sulfide gas.  We are a landfill, we do smell, but that element seems to be the real irritant and this will help quite a bit," Becker said.  When asked if he could guarantee that his plan will work, Becker responded, "no, I can't guarantee it will work."

So no guarantee the smell will be gone, and despite assurances that the levels of hydrogen sulfide are nowhere near toxic based on meter readings, folks here are not convinced they and their families are safe.

One resident said, "Yeah, you may not get cancer down the road, but you have to deal with a nagging cough, scratchy throat, or you can't sleep.  Obviously that's a problem."

Orange County Solid Waste Management will hold another meeting this May or June.

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