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Irving Landfill Manager Addresses Strong Odors

City of Irving Landfill Manager, Bill Sangster, addresses complaints of strong odors originating from the Hunter Ferrell Landfill in Irving, Texas.

Since the Hunter Ferrell Landfill was mentioned in TRA’s response I wanted to reach out and touch base with you about how the landfill controls odors. I won’t tell you that the landfill never has odor issues, but it is definitely easier for us to control. Sanitary landfills are designed and operated to control odors. The landfill must cover the trash with at least six inches of dirt or other approved daily cover materials at the end of every day. The City of Irving Hunter Ferrell landfill is allowed to cover a lead edge with heavy duty tarps if we will be going over the same area the next day. The landfill must totally cover all exposed trash with at least six inches of dirt at the end of the day on Saturdays by our permit. For this reason, you should never smell odors overnight from the landfill.

Due to the variety of waste loads that are received at the landfill, there may occasionally be odors during our operating hours of 7Am-5:30 PM. However, as part of our Site Operating Plan all of our operators are trained on how to deal with and mitigate the odors emitting from the landfill. Specific methods to control potential odors on site as noted in our Site Operating Plan are:

  • Identify potential odor sources at the gatehouse and alert the working face personnel prior to discharge of the waste. When a vehicle pulls on the scale that has a strong odor, the scale operator notifies the working face operators so they can prepare.
  • Immediately cover the odorous waste with three feet of other waste, such as construction material or one foot of dirt. Usually, by the time the load gets to the working face, the operators already have a hole dug in the active face. As soon as the truck dumps, the waste is pushed into the whole and covered with at least three feet of other waste such as construction material. If this does not reduce the strong odor, they are instructed to cover that area with one foot of dirt. Minimize the size of the working face to minimize odors. We do our best to keep the active working face as small as possible, usually no more than 150 feet by 100 feet.
  • Spills of odorous materials are immediately cleaned up or properly covered. It’s very rare that we have a spill like this but if we do it’s addressed immediately. Repair areas where soil cover has eroded by placing additional cover material. Cover is inspected at least monthly and after a rain event by our Environmental Compliance Administrator. Any erosion of the cover is repaired. The operators are trained to address erosion as they see it and not wait until an inspection is done.
  • Limit Ponding Water. Also inspected at least monthly and after rain events. Ponding does occasionally happen and when it does can turn into an odor issue if it’s not addressed. It’s rare that we have ponding but when we do we are required to fix the area within five days so that it doesn’t become stagnant and cause odors.

All of the above mentioned has helped us to reduce potential odors onsite. The City of Irving Hunter Ferrell Landfill has had a variety of odor inspections conducted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) during the previous few years. When TCEQ does an odor inspection, they go to different areas around the perimeter of the landfill. They use a device to detect odors and will sit at a specific point for at least 15-20 minutes at a time. The most recent inspection was performed in August 2021, and I am happy to report that every odor inspection conducted by the TCEQ has passed. No odors were shown to be originating from the landfill.

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