Perinton group, concerned for health and safety, tracking landfill odors

(WHAM photo)

In Perinton, thousands of residents are concerned for their health because of a landfill's odor.

Some neighbors have started the group, "Fresh Air for the Eastside," They say a strong odor started last summer.

Neighbors say the smell from High Acres Landfill got so strong, they started a Facebook group and app to track the odors. That frustration turned to worry after some residents felt tremors through their homes in early January - windows rattling and pictures shaking on a Tuesday morning. Neighbors were unsure of the cause.

“We just thought something was wrong with our furnace, or our pipes in our house,” said Gary McNeil of Perinton.

McNeil says on Tuesday, January 2, several neighbors called police and fire departments reporting tremors. The next day, Waste Management sent out a newsletter to residents stating those tremors were from High Acres Landfill.

“They had some issues on site with their power plant and their flare, and those were the effects that we all felt,” said McNeil.

The incident is adding to growing concern with the landfill's odor.

“It's one thing to deal with odors from the landfill," said McNeil, "but then to affect the structure of the house and almost feel like your house is shaking and there could be another serious problem there, is not a good feeling.”

The Facebook group and app with nearly 2,000 members started by neighbors tracked 1,425 complaints up to seven miles away.

“When the kids don't want to go outside and play because it smells so terribly, it's a problem,” said Heather Merlo of Perinton. “What are they breathing out there?”

Town Supervisor Michael Barker says he's working with the D.E.C. to resolve the concerns. “No ones’ health is at risk because of the odors, and no property is at risk because of the tremors," said Barker. "Waste Management is working to try to fix the issues, and we need to monitor and hold them accountable to make sure they do that.”

13WHAM reached out to Waste Management; they have not responded. They will be at a meeting with the Conservation Board Tuesday for recommendations for the Town Board.

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