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Report: Landfill ‘doing what it can’ to address Lower Saucon odor

By Cristiano Lima, WFMZ.com Reporter
Published On: Jun 18 2014 09:12:54 PM CDT
Updated On: Jun 19 2014 12:13:42 AM CDT
Lower Saucon officials meeting Wednesday
LOWER SAUCON TWP., Pa. -

Lower Saucon Township officials said Wednesday that the IESI Bethlehem Landfill was doing what it can to address ongoing odor complaints about their site on Applebutter Road.

At Wednesday’s council meeting Public Works consultant Jim Birdsall gave a quarterly report intended to shed light on the mystery odor complaints that date back years and have recently resurfaced.

The report, the second of its kind, is intended to bring IESI and the neighboring Bethlehem Renewable Energy facility into accordance with odor regulations set by the Department of Environmental Protection.

“The language in each of the regulations or permits that we have indicate that IESI should be taking action to control the odor and to minimize the odor,” said Birdsall. “The [Department of Environmental Protection] up to this time has been saying that IESI has been doing what it can do to odor.”

During the presentation Birdsall said the landfills are utilizing tarps, soil covering, and a liquid spray in an attempt to neutralize smells and contaminants.

Still, some potentially troubling indicators have emerged at the BRE facility.

“During the recent round of gas parameter probes…there have been two detected methane hits in two probes,” he said. “That is a little bit unusual. We’re going to be keeping an eye on that to see if there is any progression of that condition.”

Birdsall also said that of the 503 surface testers at the landfill 13 had exceeded the regulatory methane threshold of 500 parts per million. The problem has since been addressed.

“They were remedied and retested and the results passed,” he added.

The Bethlehem Landfill though has also been charged with violations on two occasions, but Birdsall says the Environmental Protection agency has chosen not to file formal charges.

“There’s been no violations other than a notice of two different issues, which were corrected,” said the consultant. “Our understanding is the EP is not going to fine the IESI for those incidents.”

At the meeting, Lower Saucon representatives continued to praise the reports for making information on the process more accessible.

“It’s really worthwhile to do this on a quarterly basis,” said township council member David Willard. “The reports are detailed but succinct.”

Jim Birdsall’s full comments can be found online at the Lower Saucon Township website.