Town officials say foul odor from landfill getting worse after state investigation

TOWN OF NIAGARA, N.Y. (WIVB) — The strong stench that lingers through the town of Niagara seems to be getting worse. The Department of Environmental Conservation found, back in October, that the nearby landfill is responsible for the smell. Now town and county officials say they’re worried it could be affecting people’s health.

“It smells like burning garbage and cabbage combined and that’s in the car with the windows not even open,” said Trina Hamilton who works along Military road in the Town of Niagara.

The foul smell has been lingering through the town of Niagara for months. For many people, like Trina Hamilton, who live and work in the area — the odor is only getting worse.

“The smell is so foul. And it’s just terrible and sometimes during the day it’s worse than others but I notice more so in the evening,” said Hamilton.

The DEC found the smell was coming from the Allied Waste landfill and found levels of hydrogen sulfide four times the legal limit back in October. Allied Waste said then it didn’t agree that the odor was coming from the landfill. The state fined the company $75,000 and gave specific instructions to fix the problem, including installing several torch systems.

Councilman Richard Sirianni says Allied Waste recently updated the town on its progress.

“It was only working at a 10% efficiency rate because when there’s flames and gases in the area that have to be cautious. The question was asked how long will it take to get to 100% and they said we don’t know,” said Town of Niagara Councilman Richard Sirianni.

Now town and county officials say it’s not clear what affect if any the smell is causing for people’s health, but the odor getting worse.

“I’m getting calls now from some residents saying that they’re having respiratory issues, nausea,” said Jason Zona, Niagara County legislator, 5th District.

Zona and county officials are calling on the DEC and EPA to step in to see what else can be done.

The trash at the landfill is trucked in from other areas across the state and other places. County legislators are looking at proposing changes to county laws about what can be brought to and burned at the landfill.

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