EAST BRUNSWICK, NJ - Six months after their last, heated meeting, the MCUA and representatives of the Edgeboro Landfill held another municipal summit on June 19th, 2018. Led by the landfill’s executive director, Joe Cryan, the meeting was meant to address how proposed solutions to the landfill’s odor and chemical problems were progressing, and what would be next for the landfill’s future as a Middlesex County staple.
The presentation that was shown was an updated version of the one used in the January meeting, with new changes and information highlighted so that people would be able to see the difference between then and now. Cryan claimed that the MCUA wanted to be as transparent as possible towards its constituents, because they “want to be good neighbors” to Middlesex County citizens. He continued to stress the positive work that the MCUA does for the environment, like conserving land around the landfill and supporting the New Jersey Audubon Society.
Since January, much work has been done in order to improve how the landfill operates and to reduce its more harmful outputs. One of these was the problem of MeadowLife, a sludge that is produced at the end of the landfill’s gas-to-energy process. Middlesex County residents previously expressed concerns about its metal content and unpleasant smell, so the MCUA has been working to try and change the process by which it is made. They are focusing on changing the formula of MeadowLife so that it contains less harmful materials and can be disposed of more easily.
Ongoing tests are also being performed at the Edgeboro Landfill to ensure that it is operating properly and safely. According to current air sampling statistics, the landfill is operating at two parts per billion of Hydrogen Sulfide, the chemical that caused the hotly-contested smell. For reference, the suggested limit is 30 parts per billion. They are also working to remedy the issue of pumping their gas extraction lines to remove water, which can also cause odors. 2019 has been nearly as wet of a year as 2018 was, so a great deal of effort is going towards these improvements.
One of the most important changes made at the landfill is the work being done on the gas system in Cell 8. The expected work for this has already been completed, but the MCUA is working on adding more wells to the area so that the system can function better. An interim cap has also been developed, which would cover the previously-wide-open space and seal off odors. A final cap is currently being worked on, and the contract to build it will be awarded in Summer 2019. Finally, significant investments are being made to develop a new odor control system that is meant to run alongside the landfill’s current infrastructure. Cryan described it as “a complement, not a failsafe”.
Allegedly, the improvements made to the landfill over time have seen some success - complaints filed about the odor have steadily decreased since January, and few concerned citizens were present at the meeting. There are no further meetings planned, and updates to the situation are to be posted on the landfill’s website and social media. For more information, you can find the MCUA at @MCUA_NJ on instagram, @MiddlesexCountyUtilitiesAuthorityNJ on Facebook, and on its website, www.mcua.com. A full transcript of the presentation shown at the meeting is available at http://www.mcua.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/06/June-MCUA-Landfill-Presentation.pdf.