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University City Residents Say Odors From Miramar Landfill Are Overwhelming

Janis Deady
Posted at 7:13 PM, Feb 27, 2019
and last updated 2019-02-27 22:15:16-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Neighborhoods near the Miramar Landfill are reporting a resurgence of awful odors they believe are coming from the landfill.

"You come out the door in the morning and it just hits you," said Matty Wuest of University City. About a mile away, fellow resident Janis Deady concurs. "Like last night at in the morning," she says, "the smell woke me up out of a dead sleep."

So, exactly what does it smell like? The distant neighbors are at no loss for words. "If you take the natural gas smell," said Matty, "Mix that with dog poop and vomit. That's what it smell like."

Janis said she'd lived near the landfill for more than 20 years without an issue, but that changed about three years ago. "All of the sudden in the 2016 we started smelling putrid, disgusting, horrid smells."

The distant neighbors say complaints in 2016 lead to hearings with the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District; resulting in fines for the City of San Diego and mitigation measures that appeared to solve the problem.

But in recent weeks they say the smell is back.

"You shouldn't have to live like that," said Janis, "Not when we pay these taxes."

A public information officer for San Diego said by phone the short story is the rain. That as soon as the Miramar Landfill has a chance to dry out from all the recent rains, the odors will dry up as well.

But residents say that's not sufficient.

"I hope the city would mitigate this and not blame it on the rain or other excuses." Said Matty.

"Bottom line," said Janis, "It's got to stop. This is from 2016 to now. We shouldn't still have these odors."

Along with a phone interview, the city's public information office provided the below email to 10News:

New measures currently in place or will be in place shortly as noted:

  • Using special covering machine that applies plastic to working face each night. 2. Better for specific odor control than the tarps previously used
  • Expansion of landfill gas collection system - new collection wells
  • Existing wells were evaluated for repairs & maintenance to maximize operating efficiency.
  • Odor dissipating system that run each night to keep any fugitive smells onsite will be extended to 9 a.M.
  • Smaller working face where trash is dumped.
  • No receipt of waste on sundays.
  • Asp system for green waste processing(coming summer 2019)

To our knowledge there are other potential odor sources in the area which have not implemented any mitigation measures. So additional investigation may be needed to determine if those sources are contributing to odors in the surrounding communities.