Landfill smell could be sheet rock

NORWICH – Sheet rock collected at the Pharsalia landfill could be causing the foul odor about which several Preston and Pharsalia area residents have complained over the last two years.

A consulting engineer hired by Chenango County to map out specs for upcoming work at the landfill said wet sheet rock gives off hydrogen sulfide, which has a powerful rotten egg smell. “There’s not a dump that I work for that doesn’t smell of it,” said Paul R. Czerwinski, an engineer for Syracuse-based Barton Loguidice.

Fortunately, the excess methane burned off by flares installed at three gas vents in early 2006 should burn hydrogen sulfide, too. The sulfide will not burn by itself, Loguidice told members of the county’s Public Works Committee recently. Acting on a request for additional flares, landfill operators will be burying five more over the next month or two.

While not acknowledging that the reported foul smell is actually coming from the landfill, Gibbon said the additional flares are being installed “to show people we are trying to address the problem.”

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