SUCCASUNNA - Residents of a Morris County town got the chance to confront state environmental officials Tuesday, and demanded the contents of the Fenimore landfill be trucked away.
Numerous Kane In Your Corner investigations revealed the property has been sending dangerous chemicals into the environment.
News 12 New Jersey's investigation showed that the bad smell many people complained about was not just a foul odor, but was the result of hydrogen sulfide being released into the air and environment. The chemical can cause breathing problems.
During its first public hearing on the situation at Roxbury High School, the state DEP says removing the contents of the landfill would cost $38 million and simply isn't feasible.
Hundreds of neighbors who live near the landfill still made their feelings known. "It's the only 100 percent way we're going to have clean air," says Myrna Hernandez.
The state's solution was to cap and close the site at a cost of $8 million. "It can be completed in a shorter time frame so that this thing can be settled by the end of this year as opposed to dragging on," says Tom Ramsey, of Geosyntec.
The landfill was abandoned in 1979 and never capped, so there had always been the potential for toxic chemicals getting into the environment.
The DEP approved a plan to redevelop the property into a solar farm. Part of that deal called for the dump to be reopened.
When work began in 2012, residents started complaining, and News 12 discovered that the solar project was illegal and being run by a felon.
News 12's investigation led to hearings and new legislation that allowed the state to take over the landfill in 2013. The law allows the state to take over any landfill that wasn't closed correctly and has harmful chemical emissions of hydrogen sulfide.
Tuesday's meeting between the public and the DEP was seen by many as one of the remaining hurdles in the process.