NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 30, 2013

Landfill odors back again

(Continued)

“It causes her a lot of discomfort with her eyes and sinuses,” he said.

The return of the smells caused residents to wonder what had happened at the landfill this time — and when this situation might finally come to an end.

“We too have been battling hydrogen sulfide for the past three nights,” wrote Alida Frey of Wilson Way. “Last night, the worst of all three! Nausea and burning eyes … nothing helped until the fog lifted and blew it in another direction.”

“Are the capture tanks saturated? Is the flare down? The flare should be dealing with this if it’s operating or operating efficiently,” she added. “After all these years completion and routine maintenance are still the pressing issues. What happens if...capital improvements are found to be necessary? Who will assure there is a scheduled plan for this to happen and when? If additional capital is required where will these funds come from? How long will it take to get the funds? This is a slippery slope we have traveled for a very long time, without ever having an ending. What will make it different this time?”

In a response sent yesterday, Holaday acknowledged that the flare that burns off the gases had stopped working and called the situation “unacceptable.”

“The flare is up and running again. This situation is totally unacceptable — 8 to 9 shutdowns in so many weeks,” she wrote. Despite New Ventures responding within 72 hours per settlement agreement to restart the flare, it should have been repaired at this juncture.”

The mayor said she would be receiving updates on the progress to repair the flare and would also be speaking with DEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell about the situation as well. The state agency is assisting city officials in the process of bringing the landfill to a full capping. In May, Kimmell pledged to aid Newburyport in compelling New Ventures to take required actions to stop the release of the hydrogen sulfide.

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