Tinton Falls Borough Council Grapples with Landfill Odor Issues and Solid Waste Management Challenges

The Tinton Falls Borough Council meeting on January 16th, 2024, was dominated by discussions surrounding the persistent odor problems emanating from the Mammoth County Reclamation Center and the complexities of managing landfill operations. County Commissioner Director Thomas Arnone and Waste Management representatives, including area director Scott Parin, addressed the council with updates on the landfill’s current state and potential solutions. The council also debated the effectiveness of the Solid Waste Advisory Council (SWAC) and the complaint process, the need for improved communication and transparency with residents, and the impact of landfill odors on local communities and businesses.

Arnone’s presentation to the council highlighted the county’s historical struggles with the landfill’s management and the decision to privatize the operations to Waste Management, which had seen initial progress in reducing odors. However, he expressed frustration with the stalled progress and emphasized the need for immediate solutions to the ongoing odor issue, recognizing its impact on residents’ quality of life in Tinton Falls and surrounding areas. Parin apologized for the current odor situation and attributed the increase in landfill gas, a contributing factor to the odor, to the significant rainfall and the increased waste accepted in recent years. He provided data showing the correlation between rainfall and landfill gas generation, with the current weather patterns accelerating this process.

Further discussions delved into the gas collection system at the landfill, detailing the robust array of vertical and horizontal gas wells, a new flare and blower system, and the challenges posed by recent heavy rainfall, such as operational difficulties and erosion of the landfill cover. The council discussed the need for a long-term plan to address the increased gas generation, including managing the expansion of the landfill in a phased manner, implementing a final capping plan, and maintaining stormwater ponds to mitigate odor issues.

Residents voiced concerns about the landfill’s community impact, potential health risks, and the possibility of relocating waste. The discussion also covered the use of a neutralizing product, air quality monitoring, and past environmental incidents, calling for greater transparency and public access to monitoring data.

The postponement of phase four of a landfill project due to regulatory delays sparked debate, with concerns about the extension of the landfill’s life and the impact of rainfall on gas creation. The Mayor informed the council that the decision on the Solid Waste plan lies with the Solid Waste Advisory Board. The meeting also broached the topic of odors affecting a local shopping mall and a proposal to incentivize waste management companies to address odor issues through management agreements with penalties for non-compliance.

Residents shared personal experiences with the landfill odors, with one highlighting the failure to close the Reclamation site and the impact on property values and health. Scott Klein, a representative of the landfill, acknowledged the odor issues and discussed ongoing efforts to control them, including capping projects and gas system expansion.

A discussion about SWAC and the odor complaint process revealed that out of 125 odor complaints, 77 investigations were completed by the Mammoth County Health Department in January 2024. The council debated the effectiveness of the complaint process and the need for a perimeter detection system to control odors. Questions were raised about ongoing hydrogen sulfide monitoring at the landfill and the adequacy of the current protocol, with requests for a more robust system in future contracts.

Communication issues, particularly the breach of the host agreement regarding the advisory committee, were also a point of contention. Michelle Simon, a resident, confronted the county representative about the failure to establish the committee, leading to a heated exchange.

Councilman Manginelli expressed frustration with the ongoing stench from the landfill and called for more transparency from the SWAC. Leo Roman J, a resident, proposed the formation of a local committee to take ownership of solid waste issues.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Vito Perillo
City Council Officials:
John A. Manginelli, Risa Clay, Michael J. Nesci (Planning Board Class III Member), Tracy A. Buckley, Dr. Lawrence A. Dobrin

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