TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) — Driving along the 190 in the town of Niagara near the outlets and it’s strong enough to stop you in your tracks: A foul odor has been making life miserable for residents who live in the shadow of a nearby landfill, and industry further away.
“I knew when it started, it wasn’t going to be easy,” said town of Niagara Supervisor Lee Wallace.
That’s how the investigation started this fall after the onslaught of calls, emails and voice mails.
“It’s terrible, it’s burning our eyes,” Wallace said of the complaints.
“I was out shoveling the snow and it was really bad today. It’s been bad, but today it seemed more than usual,” said Thomas Scozzafava, who’s lived near Military Road since 1964. “It’s hard to breathe, really. But what are you gonna do? I gotta work to get the snow off the driveway.”
The smell is hard to avoid along this stretch of Military Road near the outlets and the highway.
The source, though, has been evasive.
“It’s kind of like trying to find a water leak on your roof, trying to pinpoint it,” Wallace said.
Wallace has enlisted the help of the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Environmental Conservation, his own environmental committee, attorneys and consultants.
He’s also made multiple visits inside the landfill, the most recent of which happened around Thanksgiving. It all returned the same result.
“Nothing,” Wallace said. “Couldn’t find anything. Couldn’t pinpoint anything.”
The odor also wafts into a very important part of the town’s tax base. The popular Fashion Outlets is located directly across the highway.
Wallace says he’ll do what he can inside the town borders.
“You don’t want to just pin it on the landfill because they’re there,” Wallace said. “But yet, it is the obvious place to look first.”
“Our investigation is on the landfill,” he said. “If it is the landfill, we want to take care of it cause it’s in our town and we want to assure residents we are working on it. If it’s not the landfill, we’ll go to the next level.”
But the frustration is growing.
“That’s the worst part. But they’ll find out eventually,” Scozzafava said. “They gotta. It’s coming from some place. It’s not coming from the restaurants on Military Road.”
Republic Services, the parent company of Allied Waste Niagara Falls Landfill, released this statement: “We strive to be a good neighbor and take any concern regarding site operations very seriously. The landfill has a strong record of compliance and environmental responsibility. We are working closely with state and local officials to respond to any community concerns”