Fargo landfill causes stinkFARGO — You know the landfill is stinky when those who work there can smell it. And employees at the Fargo landfill first caught a whiff of a stronger-than-usual odor earlier this fall.
By: By Heidi Shaffer, Forum Communications Co., The Jamestown Sun
FARGO — You know the landfill is stinky when those who work there can smell it.
And employees at the Fargo landfill first caught a whiff of a stronger-than-usual odor earlier this fall.
“We kind of get used to it,” said Paul Hanson, the Fargo landfill supervisor. “So when we can tell it’s stronger than normal, then you know it’s pretty bad.”
The city isn’t sure what the precise cause of the new stench is, but the likely culprit is wet weather this summer and fall, Hanson said.
Heavy rains washed away some of the landfill’s dirt cover at 45th Street and Seventh Avenue North, exposing decomposing garbage and the smelly gases that come with it, he said.
“We are doing everything we possibly can to fix it,” Hanson said.
The city hauled in fresh dirt to cover exposed garbage and trap escaping gases, he said.
Heavy snow cover this winter may help seal in some of the stench, but the decomposing waste underneath will maintain its steamy, smell-producing temperatures all season, Hanson said.
“Landfills just stink,” Hanson said. “Our biggest problem is that the city grew around us.”
West Fargo resident Jeff Huff said the odor wafting to his home about a mile south of the landfill and just off Fargo’s 45th Street has definitely grown stronger lately.
“I don’t know what the answer is,” Huff said. The only solution may be to move the site farther out of the city, he said.
But some in the area haven’t noticed much of a difference.
Neil Krueger, manager at West Fargo’s Advanced Auto Body & Glass along Main Avenue, said the smell is “not any worse than normal.”
“You just kind of get used to it,” he said.
Additional relief may be on the way. Eight new methane-capturing wells went online a couple of weeks ago and should work to trap additional landfill gases, which the city then sells and uses to generate electricity.
The city installed its methane-capturing system in 2002 in part because of excessive smells, said City Commissioner Mike Williams.
The odor has improved over the past few weeks, but Hanson said reducing the stink remains his top priority.
“We’re going to be working on it until we get it to where it’s acceptable — or a little more acceptable anyway,” he said.
Heidi Shaffer is a reporter at The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead, which is owned by Forum Communications Co.