Group of neighbors prepared to sue High Acres Landfill over smelly problem

A smelly problem at a Perinton landfill has not gone away, and now some neighbors may sue High Acres. (WHAM photo)

Perinton, N.Y. (WHAM) - A smelly problem in Perinton has not gone away, and now neighbors are prepared to take action against the High Acres Landfill.

Nate Bubb lives a couple of miles away from the Waste Management site. He said he and his fellow neighbors have been dealing with a foul smell of garbage, and another odor like rotten eggs, for months, even after a plan to fix it was implemented.

“Even as recently as last night, there were odors that were coming and going," said Bubb.

Neighbors said the majority of the smell this week is coming from the trash being brought in by a CSX train from New York City.

"The volume is just monumental,” Bubb said. “About 3,500 tons of trash is just a ton of trash to be bringing in on a daily basis. In addition to that, we know that the trash is taking over a week to get from NYC to here in High Acres.”

Bubb said the smell comes and goes depending on the wind’s direction, and is at times unbearable.

"It's sitting on a car and sealed, and as soon as it's opened it's an unimaginable smell that's coming out of those train cars," he said.

On Wednesday alone, Perinton Town Supervisor Mike Barker said more than 50 complaints came into his office about the smell stinking up the neighborhood.

Barker is working with the group of neighbors who make up Fresh Air for the Eastside to eliminate the smell and find out what's causing it.

Bubb is a member of Fresh Air for the Eastside.

“There's been different monitoring that's taking place, and it's yielded results that are inconclusive,” said Bubb. “The scary part for us is we don't know what we're smelling. Is it safe? Is it not safe? What’s causing it and should we be breathing it in at all?"

The group is asking Waste Management to permanently cap part of the landfill – the Perinton side – and reduce the amount of trash being brought in from New York City by half.

If the company doesn't comply, Fresh Air for the Eastside will consider moving forward with a lawsuit.

"We feel they have been unsuccessful in addressing our concerns, which is why we're taking these next steps,” said Bubb. “We're in a position where we have no other option but to potentially go forward with litigation."

A spokesperson Waste Management said recent air monitoring reports show the hydrogen sulfide levels at the landfill - which is that smell like rotten eggs - are below the potential for health risks. In addition, she said High Acres has met every regulatory deadline that’s been imposed.

Meantime, the DEC is urging residents to report odors on its hotline at 585-453-2416.

Below is the full statement from the DEC:

“The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) remains committed to addressing the problem of odors originating from the Waste Management (WM) High Acres Landfill. On February 2, 2018, DEC issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to WM requiring them to undertake several actions to address odors at the facility. To date, WM has made on-time delivery of the actions required by the NOV and has essentially completed the construction related requirements contained therein. The work required by DEC of WM to mitigate the problems with gas collection at the landfill has resulted in some improvements and decreased complaints, although DEC continues to assess the odor control effectiveness and respond to complaints. DEC is evaluating more recent odor complaints that appear primarily related to landfilling operations (garbage odors) as opposed to fugitive landfill gas emissions. Residents are encouraged to utilize the DEC odor hotline at 585-453-2416 to allow DEC to respond to further concerns.”

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