Stench from Allied landfill getting worse, impacting businesses on Military Road

The stench plaguing Military Road and area residents is coming from more than just the landfill and it’s importation of gympsum drywall, which generates noxious hydrogen sulfide. Photo by Joseph Kissel.

By Joseph Kissel

How bad does it have to get before the DEC steps in?

For two years, the stench emanating from the Allied Landfill has been getting steadily worse.

So much so, this summer tourists were seen retching by the side of the road as they hit the vile wall of smell that locals have sadly grown accustomed to.

The stench is a combination of the landfill and surrounding industry including Cascades, but it’s getting worse because of the steady importation of out-of-state gypsum drywall, which generates hydrogen sulfide. (The colorless gas smells like rotten eggs and is poisonous, corrosive, and flammable.)

People are reporting medical problems associated with the foul odors, including eye irritation, difficulty breathing and other conditions.

Amherst is also trucking in human waste, according to county legislator Jay Zona.

“It’s disgusting and they are losing business on Military Road,” he said. “It’s an economic driver of this county and we can’t afford this.”

To enact any kind of mitigation, the legislature voted unanimously to contact the EPA regarding what the agency can do that this state’s DEC won’t.

In the background is the Allied Waste Landfill, which is at the center of a health and commerce problem that the city and county needs to solve. Photo by Joseph Kissel.

“Once a permit is issued the wheels are off the go-kart,” said Mr. Zona, referring to the difficulty in further regulating how these businesses operate.

There’s talk of trying to stop the gypsum drywall from being brought into the landfill, but that could be a violation of interstate commerce laws, said County Attorney Claude Jorge.

At this point, the only likely recourse residents and area governments have is to get the DEC to make sure the landfill and surrounding industry are operating within their permits, he said.

But at what point does out-of-state commerce and permits come into hard conflict with the economic survival of a region, and health of locals as well as the tourists who come here expecting something beautiful.

Not a wall of smell that makes them wish they never came at all.

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