Residents Near Birchwood Landfill Suffering Through Stink
Say it causes headaches, eye and stomach problems
BIRCHWOOD AIRPORT - If you lived downwind of a landfill you probably wouldn’t be surprised if there was an occasional odor. But some people who work very close to the Birchwood landfill say they are putting up with an unhealthy stink almost every day.
“By 8 o’clock you’ve got a headache, your eyes are watering and you are coughing,” said Mariann Falcone. Falcone works at the Birchwood Airport. She’s describing what many people feel about an odor that’s been drifting their way for months.
“It kind of gets all the way down in your throat, you can feel it down in your stomach, it’s pretty bad,” said John Daily, whose plane is parked at the Birchwood Airport.
Neighbors complain of headaches, watery eyes and queasy stomachs that are coming from a stinky smell that is hard to describe.
“Sometimes it smells like sewer, sometimes it smells like rubber's burning; you keep looking over there and you don’t see black smoke but it's like what’s going on?“ said Falcone.
The landfill is owned by the Birchwood Shooting Club and is located just beyond the firing range. The Department of Environmental Conservation has been keeping tabs on it and said the smell is no mystery. The odor is coming from decomposing construction waste.
Chipped up construction materials were buried deep in the landfill, they got wet and started a perfect storm of stinkiness.
“They got too much water in there from last year’s rain and some of the snow melt from earlier this year,“ said DEC worker Lori Adrich. “It was just the right combination of materials for it to start to decompose.”
According to the DEC, the landfill owners are in full compliance and are doing what needs to be done to stop the smell, including churning up the waste to expose it to oxygen.
She said the smell is real but getting better.
In the meantime some Birchwood residents say they will worry until it goes away completely. The landfill owners say that will happen soon. They plan to put a thick layer of dirt over the troublesome section of the landfill in the next few weeks. As soon as the soil is warm enough to dig up, they plan to close off that section of the landfill for good.