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In Doral, complaints over foul stench on the rise

Nearby waste management facilities disturb residents
February 20, 2017 12:45PM

Doral, Florida (Credit: Getty Images)

UPDATED Feb. 21, 11:35 a.m.: In Doral, the Medley landfill and Covanta Waste Energy facility produce an odor nearby residents have characterized as “rotten eggs mixed with paint fumes,” causing the city to look into buying devices that would help measure just how bad the odors are.

In the last three years odor complaints in the neighborhood have more than tripled, the Miami Herald reported, as residential developments near the two facilities have boomed.

In 2014, residents filed 293 complaints with officials, whereas 2016 saw 1,075 complaints.

Residents have even requested the dumps be shut down, but a 2016 audit  performed by an environmental consulting firm showed neither facility was violating permits. It recommended the city buy $80,000 air monitoring devices to detect gases such as ethyl mercaptan, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide.

Before Doral was incorporated as a city, some pockets of the industrial zone were changed to “traditional neighborhood development,” according to the Herald, which reported roughly 80 new housing developments are within a two-mile radius of the dumps. Among those developments are Related Group’s 300-unit apartment building, CityPlace Doral.

“We call it ‘Mount Trashmore,’” Pierre Christ told the Miami Herald. Residents like him have been required to sign a waiver acknowledging they live near a waste facility since 2006. “With Medley, you have an overwhelming acidic irritating smell. With Covanta, you have a huge mountain of ashes in the open air.”

Emissions from the landfill won’t reach their threshold until at least 2025, according to research from 2008 cited in the audit, and the facilities remain part of the master plan for at least another 45 years.

“If you spray Chanel on garbage, it’s still going to smell like garbage sprayed with Chanel,” William Meredith, Covanta’s business manager, told the Miami Herald. “There’s not much we can do at this point except try to be good neighbors.” [Miami Herald] — Gabrielle Paluch

Correction: A previous version of this story included incorrect information about developments within the two-mile radius.