WEST SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB) – If you’ve noticed an offensive odor in Springfield and West Springfield, you aren’t alone.
Ever since The Big, E something has been in the wind that’s causing more than a few complaints.
Foul, stinky or rancid are words being used to describe the smell in the air, but the source may surprise you.
It’s not Bondi’s Island. It’s actually a repair project to a landfill at the West Springfield Generating Station.
“This project started back in late April of this year and we had to stop it at the beginning of summer to allow us more time to bring in more material. We just started up the first of October,” explains Alan Douglass, Essential Power’s Chief Environmental Health and Safety Officer.
And the culprit is that material.
“The capping material that we are using is a short paper fiber. It is basically a waste product from the paper making process,” Douglass says.
That product is a clay-like substance being packed 18 inches thick on top of the entire landfill. It provides an impermeable shield preventing rain water from going though the landfill and reaching ground water.
Because it’s so close to Bondi’s Island, it’s easy to see why people would confuse the odor from the project with the water and sewer commission, but Douglass told ABC40 the short term smell is worth the environmental benefits that this material provides.
“If it’s not used, it just takes up space in municipal or industrial landfills, so it’s a good way of recycling this material,” Douglass notes.
Other options for capping would be clay which would utilize a large amount of the natural resource or plastic.
Essential Power also wants people to know they are doing everything they can to try and dissipate the odor, including trying a lyme application. Most of all they want residents to know it’s temporary and not harmful.
Once the material is laid, it will be covered with about a foot of compost which will alleviate the smell and allow grass to grow over it.