Importance of Odor Control at a Landfill

Enticing smells of the holiday season can transport us back to a different time in our life. Smells can evoke good memories or bad events. Science has shown that odors, whether good or bad, affect our mood, disturb our concentration, cut down on our productivity, bring on symptoms and in general, can increase a dislike for a particular place, food or product.

So, how does this relate to solid waste operations? Well, after reading a recent article relating to Hurricane Sandy; odors have become a problem at landfills accepting waste from storm damage. According to, the Fenimore Landfill in Roxbury has been ordered by Superior Court Judge Deanne Wilson to completely cover the vast percentage of the landfill in “48 hours” or face closure of the facility. Follow this link to read the entire article.

As a landfill manager and/or operator in Kentucky, the control of odors is one of the operational facts of life of which you must remain continually aware.  Several factors might affect the presence of odors and increase their intensity. Weather events may cause you to have more problems with them. The types of waste your facility is receiving will affect the presence of odors, and the use of daily cover will factor into how you can mitigate them.

Solid Waste Association of North America (SWANA) has a presentation on its website titled Practical Odor Control at Landfills. This provides a quick refresher on odor control at your landfill.  As always, if you have a problem and need assistance at your landfill, whether it is relating to odor control or any of the hundreds of things you deal with in your daily operations; contact the Kentucky Environmental Compliance Assistance Branch at The branch has personnel available to assist you with compliance with your permits. You may contact the program at 1-800-926-8111. Ken Melton, Division of Waste Management, is also available at 502-564-6716 to answer questions regarding your permit requirements.

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