Johnston Landfill Operator Says Complaints Down

Operators claim the Johnston Landfill stench isn't as bad. They said complaints are down. There were thirty this month compared to 260 in November.      

But neighbors and Johnston's mayor said it still stinks. They complained to lawmakers at the State House Tuesday, but not until after the landfill's operators gave what they call a progress report.     

Broadrock Gas Services and Recovery Resources Corp. have been known to play the blame game when is comes to the Johnston Landfill stink, which at times has been so bad you could smell it 15 miles away.

The landfill operators came together at the State House and tried to convince lawmakers they have the rotten egg smell under control, but people who live nearby said they're not convinced.         

Domenic Rea is fed up. He's lived about a mile from Johnston's landfill for 42 years, and he said every year the stench gets worse.

“I just don't know what to do,” said Rea, “I'm not a chemist. I can't tell them what to do.” Rea is one of a dozen neighbors who showed up to a special legislative task force meeting Tuesday.

It's the second landfill meeting he's been to with his son this month. Both said they just feel nothing is being done, so they're trying to get involved.

“Is this just another step and then a year down the road and we still have more issues,” said Brian Rea. But landfill operators said that won't happen.

They claim the 54 new wells and extra flares put in last year have already made a difference. They've gotten fewer complaints, and they're not done. Executives from Broadrock Gas Services and Resource Recovery outlined further plans to the task force.

“We have today developed a program that we are going to implement that will have the effect of not only finishing off the final touches of getting the odor completely under control,” said Randy Holmes of Broadrock Gas.

Also in the works, an early warning system to show just how much methane gas is getting out. But for now, Johnston Mayor Polisena isn't convinced the rotten egg smell is getting any better. He said on a mild day like Tuesday, the stench was unbearable.

“Today we had a very bad day in the town,” said Polisena, “The odor was permeating through the town and that's why I want to find out why we had a day today. When I walked into the town hall at approximately eight thirty to open up my office and you could actually smell it inside the building.”

Johnston sued the landfill operators last month over the odor. Meanwhile, the task force, which held it's second meeting Tuesday,  has decided to hold a few more so members can hear from more people.