State orders Casella to control smell of Southbridge landfill or face a fine of up to $25,000
SOUTHBRIDGE – Casella Waste Systems failed to comply with its permit to operate the landfill by neglecting to control odors - malodorous gases and air pollutants - during a recent six-day span, the state Department of Environmental Protection said last week.
The DEP said it received numerous complaints from residents of Southbridge and Charlton about the smell of “garbage, rotten eggs, old chicken, dirty diapers and sulfur gas” from the landfill from Sept. 26 to Oct. 1 during business hours.
A third-party odor monitor confirmed 18 complaints. On Sept. 30, the odor monitor said it detected a “sweet garbage odor” that traveled “through a neighborhood like one giant wave.”
The DEP ordered Casella, doing business as the Southbridge Recycling and Disposal Park, to cease and desist its creation of nuisance odors, the Oct. 2 enforcement letter said, noting the company could be fined up to $25,000.
The landfill operator is to repair gas vents, conduct a complete inspection of the gas collection system, and submit a report to the DEP within 10 days of the order.
The waste management company must also take immediate action to control nuisance odors from the landfill by completely covering waste material at both the active cells of the landfill and the eastern slope closure area at the end of each day of operation, the DEP said.
Casella is shuttering operation of the Southbridge landfill, possibly by the end of the calendar year. It has managed the landfill since 2003.