Landfill owners: Issue with gas-removal system caused fumes

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The owners of a Hudson County landfill say that issues with a gas-removal system caused a buildup of dangerous fumes that prompted the evacuation of a nearby soccer field.

The air quality monitors at the Keegan Landfill in Kearny went off Monday. As many as 200 children and parents were forced to leave Harvey Field while soccer games were ongoing.

“I think we had a problem with the flare at some point on Monday and that probably contributed to the issue. We have since fixed it. We had a problem with the generator, actually. It clogged, so the generator shut off. That means the flare shuts off,” says Thomas Marturano, the director of Solid Waste and Natural Resources and the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, the agency that owns the landfill.

RELATED: Dangerous fumes from Keegan Landfill interrupt children’s soccer game 
RELATED: NJ Sports and Exposition Authority: Keegan Landfill odor could worsen 

The Keegan Landfill has become the center of community outrage, with many calling for its closure due to the dangerous and unpleasant fumes produced by the hydrogen sulfide gas that the landfill produces.

The Kearny athletic fields are located next to the landfill. Air quality has become a critical issue for families.

“The first practice when I see all the gauges that take measurements and they're like ‘Well, that's the landfill right there,’ and I'm like, ‘That's like a quarter-mile away. How could that be?’” says parent Edward Henderson.

Marturano says that a collection system, which began operating on Sept. 5, is designed to pull hydrogen sulfide and methane from within the landfill and carry it to a flare where it is burned - becoming harmless.

“We're putting a vacuum on the entire landfill,” he says.

Marturano says the system is like one in place at some 400 landfills across the country.

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