Foul Smell Continues to Plague New Jersey Town

What to Know

  • The mayor of Kearny, NJ, ordered 160 kids off the field because of what he calls high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas coming from landfill
  • This is not the first time that the foul smell has plagued the residents of this town
  • The state says the smells at the landfill that first opened in the 1950s should be gone — for good — in a matter of weeks

Harvey Field in Kearny is regarded as the pride of this soccer-loving New Jersey town.

However, on Monday, the mayor ordered 160 kids off the field because of what he calls high levels of hydrogen sulfide gas coming from the landfill.

This is not the first time that the foul smell has plagued the residents of this town. The smell in Kearny is so bad it is actually making breathing difficult for some neighbors, and health officials have been forced to close a neighboring soccer field numerous times. 

A new gas collection system was installed at the state-owned landfill earlier this month. The state says the smells at the landfill that first opened in the 1950s should be gone — for good — in a matter of weeks.

Officials took NBC 4 New York on a tour and maintain the air quality meets government guidelines. They say while the smell of rotten eggs isn’t great — it also isn’t dangerous.

“We don’t view this as a health issue. We view this as a nuisance odor issue. And that’s what we are addressing it,” Thomas Marturano, the director of Solid Waste & Natural Resourcess of the New Jersey Sports & Exhibition Authority, which controls the landfill, said.

But those assurances are not stopping the mayor and some state lawmakers who want the landfill shut down and sealed off completely.

“The residents of Kearny continue to be poisoned by the Keegan Landfill and our state allows it to continue," Kearny Mayor Al Santos said in a statement, adding that local monitoring earlier this week showed the hydrogen sulfide levels were exceeding acceptable standards — posing potential respiratory problems for neighbors.

While the fields officially reopened Tuesday, the debate over smell and safety continues.

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