Berkeley County releases reports about landfill odor

Berkeley County Water and Sanitation workers continued to cover mounds of waste with dirt on last month to control any odor coming from the Berkeley County landfill on Highway 52. File/Brad Nettles/Staff

Berkeley County should attack its landfill odor problem by immediately covering up the pit where the stink is strongest and get the rain stormwater away from the mess.

Also — and the county has agreed to do this — install pipes that will suck gas from the waste and place it into another system, instead of emitting the odor into the air.

All this has to be done by Feb. 16, the state says.

"County leaders are hopeful that by acting immediately on every suggestion made by the consultant, and supported by (the Department of Health and Environmental Control), a solution will be found soon," the county said in a release.

The report released by Berkeley County this week came from SCS Engineers, the county's consultants, who scanned the landfill in January and detailed how the smell can be eliminated. 

Their filing says engineers drew gas samples from waste which revealed the presence of hydrogen sulfide, the gas that causes the rotten egg odor that has hung over the property.

The report also includes what the county has done so far to reduce and eliminate the odor.

In late December, the county said the smell got worse after the area saw more than 11 inches of rain. The county said the moisture led to the breakdown of gypsum board, resulting in the release of hydrogen sulfide gas, which put off a “rotten egg” smell.

Local residents and business owners have complained that the odor seeps into their shops and houses.

Foxbank resident Marki Williams, who’s lived in the neighborhood for 10 years, told The Post and Courier earlier in the week the odor is worst early in the mornings. 

“It’s in our cars. It’s in our homes. ... It’s literally invading every space,” Williams said. “We’ll come from work and think it doesn’t smell outside right now. We’ll walk in our house and it’s like the smell is trapped in the house.”

The engineers' report was sent to DHEC which reviewed it and sent the county a letter Feb. 1, giving them until Feb. 16 to make the changes. 

The report comes after the county announced it set up meters in and around the site to detect hydrogen sulfide, and BCWS employees were walking around the adjacent Foxbank neighborhood with meters. The county released pictures of the landfill that show its efforts to eliminate the smell.

The county is asking residents to call BCWS at 843-719-2386 when they smell an odor near the landfill. That information is being captured with the date, time, location and nature of the smell.

As the calls come in, the information is being mapped and will help identify a solution to the odor, the county said.

"Berkeley County Water and Sanitation crews have been working diligently to find a solution to the issue and county leaders are hopeful upcoming efforts will help solve the problem," the county said.

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