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Toxic Gas At New Jersey Landfill Leaves Residents Fuming

Roxbury Township Landfill Closed 35 Years Ago, But Reopened In 2011
Roxbury Township Landfill

Residents are complaining about toxic gases coming from this landfill in Roxbury Township, N.J. (Credit: CBS 2)

ROXBURY TOWNSHIP, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A township in New Jersey has begun taking precautions because of a landfill that is posing a toxic gas problem.

As CBS 2’s John Slattery reported Wednesday, neighbors said the gas from the landfill in the Township of Roxbury in Morris County smells awful.

“It’s a rotten egg odor that penetrates,” said Roxbury Township resident Linda Keane. “I get headaches.”

Her neighbor, Janet Lemma, agreed.

“You can’t breathe, can’t sleep, get woken up from sleep,” Lemma said.

What the residents complain of is a weekend spike in hydrogen sulfide, a toxic gas from the nearby Fenimore landfill. The 100-acre landfill was closed down 35 years ago, but reopened in 2011 for accepting specific material. It was then to be turned into a solar plant.

“It is caused by construction debris fines, particularly wallboard as it degrades,” said Roxbury Township Manager Chris Raths

The debris covers a 16-acre portion of the landfill. With three monitors near the landfill, the town said it will notify residents by email and by phone when gas levels are high, urging them to head for a local recreation center a couple of miles away.

“I’m not opposed to a solar farm,” said Shannon Caccavella. “I’m opposed to the way it’s been handled and the way it’s ruined our lives, practically.”

Residents said the emissions are mostly in the morning and evening. Area residents who want to sell their homes are particularly worried.

The New Jersey State Senate will hold a hearing on the problem Thursday, to find out whether the dump should be capped.

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