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Prince George residents: Rotten eggs stench ‘hits you in the face’

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Posted at 6:59 PM, Jan 29, 2015
and last updated 2015-01-30 23:02:58-05

PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va. -- Some residents in Prince George County are speaking out about the horrid stench coming from a nearby Waste Management landfill. "You get home and open the door, it just hits you in the face," Jennifer Carden, who is fed up with the stench, said.

Jennifer Carden

Jennifer Carden

Carden turned to Facebook to bring Prince George County residents together to voice their concerns about a landfill in Sussex County after they first noticed what smelled like rotten eggs outside their homes. Many who live in Prince George County said the foul odor became a problem last year. By fall, they said, the smell was bad enough to forced residents to stay indoors.

"We wouldn't go outside. We'd turn our air conditioner off in the house because it would pull in," Ronda May said.

Carden, who lives less than eight miles from the site in Sussex County, said at first residents had had no idea where the smell was coming. But now that they know the culprit, they said the problem is not getting fixed quickly enough. Neighbors like Joyce Petty agree with Carden.

"It can be bad enough to make you want to go in the house or back into the building to get away from it, you don't want to hang out outside," Petty said.

County officials said they are aware of the problem and were briefed by Waste Management Tuesday night about the situation in Sussex.

Sussex County landfill

Sussex County landfill

"We are aware of occasional odor issues at the landfill and we are committed to rectifying those issues," Waste Management wrote in a statement to CBS 6.

As a result, Waste Management began making changes last summer that continued through the end of the year. This year they said they are working to install a 30-acre temporary cap over the landfill by the end of September. Additional changes are also expected in an effort to quell the smell. Waste Management released a timeline of its plan to fix the smell issue:

June 2014
Installed temporary flare and additional gas extraction
Leachate quality sampling and analyses (on-going)

July 2014 through October 2014
Installed crude biofilters at various locations

October 2014
Odor misting system expansion (addition of approximately 300 feet)
Began design of a 30-acre temporary cap

October 2014 through November 2014
Hired Industrial hygiene to perform study

November 2014 through December 2014
Installed pressure and temperature probes
Ongoing data collection

December 2014
Odor misting system expansion #2
Add second pump
Add approximately 2,000 feet of hose (133 nozzles)
Met with consultants and Corporate Directors to discuss odor issues

January 2015
Acquire gas rights on-site
Purchase portable, waterless deodorizer system

January 2015 through February 2015
Completion of 30-acre temporary cap design
Construction of additional biofilters

February 2015 through April 2015
Perimeter air quality sampling and analyses

March through September 2015
Installation of 30-acre temporary cap

May 2015 through October 2015
Expansion of gas extraction system
Installation of additional candlestick flare
Design of additional 30-acre temporary cap

Ongoing
Continued analyses to evaluate the cause of the odors
Adjustments to odor misting system

But Carden said that the problem has continued for so long that she has considered putting her house up for sale.