DEP: Landfill smell expected to worsen as work to resolve issue begins

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KEARNY -

It may get worse before it gets better. That’s the warning the state Department of Environmental Protection is giving people who live near the Keegan Landfill in Kearny.

The New Jersey DEP is working with the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority – the entity that runs the landfill – to fix the issues so that it doesn’t smell so bad in the future. But officials say that hydrogen sulfide odors are likely to increase as contractors begin drilling wells intended to resolve the smell.

Air monitors outside the site have shown levels of hydrogen sulfide high enough to recently close a nearby soccer field. The levels registered at 39 parts-per-billion at the field. Officials say that 20 parts-per-billion can cause people to feel dizzy or suffer from headaches and fatigue.

RELATED: Protesters say ‘rotten’ Kearny landfill is a hazard to their health 
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People who live near the landfill have been calling on state officials to shut it down.

“It used to be when it rained you’d smell it more. Now it doesn’t take that,” says Gabriel Soriano.

The DEP says that the work, which is expected to begin July 30, should solve the issue for good.

“While hydrogen sulfide odors are likely to increase during the construction of this system, it is anticipated that, when complete, the system will assist in eliminating hydrogen sulfide odors from Keegan Landfill.”

But Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos says the notion that the smell is going to get worse contradicts what the NJSEA stated at a recent meeting. He says that this has him concerned for those living around the landfill.

The DEP reports that on Tuesday air monitors at the site were showing readings of 74 parts-per-billion.

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