Stinky Kearny landfill's odor could get worse, NJ state officials say

KEARNY, New Jersey (WABC) -- Residents of one New Jersey town should expect a very stinky end to summer.

New Jersey's Department of Environmental Protection is warning the residents of Kearny, Hudson County, that "rotten egg" odors coming from the Keegan Landfill on Bergen Avenue, north of I-280, are likely to occur or increase, starting Tuesday.

The uptick in the hydrogen sulfide smell would be caused by the drilling vertical wells. The wells, which are drilled down through the landfill mass, are installed in order to collect the gas, thus reducing odors long term.
During construction, however, those smells could worsen. It is expected to be completed by mid-September.

The New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which operates the landfill, established a monitoring system to detect hydrogen sulfide emissions. The DEP will also monitor the smell.

Hydrogen sulfide, a colorless gas, is a byproduct of industrial and natural processes, including during the breakdown of waste generated within a landfill. Exposure to too much hydrogen sulfide is not only smelly but has the potential to cause eye, nose, or throat irritation, headaches, and nausea.

The DEP said it received many complaints about the Keegan Landfill, which has exceeded the legal threshold of hydrogen sulfide allowed on multiple occasions. The landfill has stopped accepting waste products.

Families living near the landfill said they've endured the smell for 10 years. Walter Kuziel, who's lived in Kearny all of his life, said him and his friends used to play near the landfill as kids.

"Now I've got health issues. All my friends have the same health issues, cancer," he said.

Anyone who is adversely impacted by hydrogen sulfide odors can contact the DEP's hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP (877-927-6337) or report a complaint through the DEP's WARN DEP mobile application.

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