Countryside Landfill Odor Complaints Dwindle
Byline: Mick Zawislak firstname.lastname@example.org
A hefty investment at the Countryside landfill in Grayslake apparently is paying off as the number of complaints regarding a rotten egg odor has dropped.
Health and environmental authorities will continue to monitor the air at the perimeter of the landfill on Route 83 near Route 137, but a series of improvements and upgrades seems to have tamed what had become a vexing problem.
"The odor complaints are down. We think part of it is related to the work that was done this fall and winter," said Mike Kuhn, solid waste unit coordinator for the Lake County Health Department.
Odor complaints have persisted for more than two years and were intense enough at times to force residents in the nearby Prairie Crossing subdivision to leave their homes.
The source was determined to be drywall residue decomposing into hydrogen sulfide, a pungent gas that can be smelled at levels as low as 1 part per billion, though the recommended exposure limit is 10,000 parts per billion, officials said.
Last February, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency cited landfill operator Waste Management for failing to control odor emissions. That remains an ongoing enforcement matter, according to the EPA.
Since then, a 12-year-old gas flare was replaced with new equipment that maintains a constant vacuum on all parts of the gas collection system, which helps control odors, according to Kuhn.
Thirteen gas collection wells where the drywall and other construction debris had been buried were replaced and connected to pipes below ground, as well as a new system of pipes above ground to capture the hydrogen sulfide. …