DEQ could start putting landfills to the smell test

ROSEBURG, Ore. -- The Department of Environmental Quality may soon start paying visits to landfills that get complaints about smells, and officials say the Douglas County landfill should pass the smell test.

The DEQ has proposed a strategy to deal with the foul odors.

Facilities with a high number of odor complaints would get a visit, which might include inspectors rating the smells.

Tom Manton with Douglas County Public Works says the bad smells may have to do with the landfill location. "We do have a considerable buffer around our landfill," he said. "It's quite a ways before there are houses. I think that's one reason that we haven't had problems."

He says that at some other landfills, the problem has become pretty bad. "What we take in, in the course of a year at our landfill, some of the landfills take in in a day."

Manton says there are a lot of variables that could change the inspection results, and wants to make sure if the DEQ were to visit Douglas County those variables would be taken into account. "On a particular day, things could have a stronger odor," he said. "It is going to be very subjective without measuring it with an instrument."