Neighbors of landfill in Clark Co. feel odor complaints fall on deaf ears
Small group meetings for people who live near the landfill in Indiana are expected to start next week.
CLARK COUNTY, Ind. (WDRB) – Months after their initial odor complaints, residents who live near the Clark Floyd County Landfill feel as if their concerns have fallen on deaf ears.
“Their complaints, like you said, continue to come in,” Robert Lee, President of Clark Floyd County Landfill LLC told WDRB News.
Nearby neighbors describe the smell with words like gas, ammonia and rotten eggs. Freeda Heatherly says it's so strong it has a burning sensation.
“My throat would just start burning and it would feel like heartburn,” Heatherly said.
Since then, Clark County officials, the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management and landfill operators have been tracking complaints and looking into the source of the problem. But Clark County Commissioner President Jack Coffman says that task has not come easy.
“Odors are a hard thing to track. It's not like how you can follow a stream of water or watch smoke burning from a building or things like that,” Coffman said.
While IDEM reports show inspectors encountered a strong odor in one part of the landfill, the cause has not officially been determined.
When we asked Lee if he could smell the odor, he said yes.
“It became apparent that it was part of that 40,000 gallon tank and the collection of the ground water that we collect and we simply need to do something about that,” Lee said.
The tank he's talking about fills up with the liquid that sinks to the bottom of the landfill and sometimes has to be emptied multiple times a day and taken away by trucks to a water treatment facility. Lee said he plans on working with the county to build an underground water line to eradicate the trucks hauling the water away.
Lee also said there could be a couple other sources to the odor.
Sludge from waste water treatment plants and fly ash, which is residue from coal that’s been burnt, were disposed of at a higher elevation in the landfill. Since the complaints have come in, those materials are disposed of at lower elevations.
The numerous trees that have been cut down around the landfill as an IDEM requirement to build more wetlands could also be to blame. Lee said since the landfill expanded vertically, there’s less of a barrier without the trees.
“We've got nothing. No one’s telling us anything,” Heatherly said.
It's that type of information she and her neighbors want to know about.
“We were promised a community meeting and that has yet to happen,” she said.
Coffman says instead of a large community meeting, they'll meet in small groups.
“We feel like conducting small meetings in groups of five or six can be more productive and better address their issues directly,” Coffman said.
Those meetings are expected to start next week and hope to be complete in about a month.
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