State to Roxbury Resident: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff at Fenimore

Fenimore Landfill with cap installed Credits: REACT

ROXBURY, NJ - The creation of malodorous hydrogen sulfide at Fenimore Landfill is a big problem, but Roxbury residents shouldn't worry too much about mercaptan or other smelly gases possibly being generated at the site, said a state official in a letter to a concerned resident. 

Ed Putnam, an assistant director in the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Site Remediation Program, said the DEP views any release of mercaptan to be inconsequential compared with the huge amounts of hydrogen sulfide (H2S) that were wafting from the site and are now being collected and burned off.

Putnam was responding to a Feb. 19 letter from Roxbury resident Aaron Markworth, who said he was concerned that mercaptan might be coming from the site and causing health problems. Mercaptan, like H2S, has a noxious odor. It is added to odorless natural gas so people are aware of gas leaks. 

Sign Up for E-News

"In the past couple of weeks there have been increased complaint reports of gas odors from Fenimore of different and varied types," wrote Markworth. "The hydrogen sulfide rotten egg odor of the past has been added to with rotten cabbage, skunk, garbage, natural gas and burning smells associated with mercaptans. I myself have noticed it numerous times driving down Mountain Road, especially late in the evening."

Markworth said he was worried about "chronic health effects from mercaptan exposure" and the lack of testing (of both the air and water at the site) for the substance. He also said he was concerned that "specific testing for mercaptans was never done because of perceived low concentrations" and the DEP's assumption the equipment now burning away the hydrogen sulfide being captured at Fenimore would also remove mercaptans."

In his response, Putnam pointed to a "fact sheet" published by the DEP in March 2014. The document said the state is not testing for mercaptan and sulfide compounds "because the concentrations of these compounds are present in landfill gas at significantly lower concentrations than H2S. Any trace amounts of other sulfur compounds emitted from the landfill would have been controlled to a similar high efficiency as H2S by the oxidizer.”

In his letter, Markworth accused the DEP and township of being “irresponsible” for assuming that the “only gas odor culprit is hydrogen sulfide” and he suggested that the mercaptan might be interfering with the functioning of air monitors around the landfill that are supposed to alert the state, township and residents about high H2S levels.

“The department doesn’t consider mercaptans to be of concern considering the levels of H2S that are present at the landfill,” wrote Putnam. He said problems with the monitors were determined to be caused by electrical interference during cold weather. Putnam said the “slightly elevated levels” of mercaptan being found by the monitors might not be from the landfill at all but coming, instead, from furnaces in the area

“If it were related to mercaptans from the material Strategic Environmental Partners (SEP) brought to the site, we would expect to see these readings during the summer too; and we do not,” wrote Putnam.

Markworth also told the DEP he was worried about marcpatan being released in runoff from the site and eventually entering the wells of residents. “Although Fenimore is being capped, the landfill still has no underliner and if the material stays wet from underground water seepage, hydrogen sulfide and mercaptans will continue to be produced and could escape,” he wrote.

Putnam responded that Markworth's fear about the runoff (leachate) appears to be related to the dump material that’s been at the site for decades. Municipal waste dumping at Fenimore ceased in the late 1970s and the site remained dormant until about three years ago when SEP, proposing to level it and install solar panels, began accepting construction debris as fill.

“The cap that DEP installed covers only the SEP material, since that material is the source of the H2S and our actions at the site were to abate the H2S odors,” wrote Putnam. “The cap includes an impermeable layer that not only prevents H2S gas from escaping but also prevents any rainwater from entering the material; which prevents any leachate from forming.”

TAP Into Another Town's News:

You May Also Be Interested In

Sign Up for E-News


Upcoming Events


Wed, April 25, 7:00 PM

Circle Bowl and Entertainment, Ledgewood

Devils Backbone Beer and Donuts!

Food & Drink


Thu, April 26, 7:00 PM

Circle Bowl and Entertainment, Ledgewood

Pallet Paint Night!

Arts & Entertainment


Fri, April 27, 6:00 PM

VFW Post 2833, Kenvil

VFW Post 2833 Venison Dinner

Food & Drink

Sat, April 28, 11:00 AM

Horseshoe Lake Park, Succasunna

The Onyx & Breezy Foundation 3rd Annual Memorial ...

Giving Back


Peyton's Pointers for Safer Driving

Many customers ask my advice for ways to add more years of life to their vehicles. Here are a few pointers from my 35 years of experience in the auto repair industry, as well as some tips to keep you safer on the road.  

1.    Pull Through a Parking Spot.  Pull through to the other side of a parking space so your vehicle faces forward out ...

Getting it Right From the Start; Roxbury Realtor Bob Idakaar

ROXBURY, NJ – Twenty years ago this month, Bob Idakaar experienced an unprofessional real estate agent. That’s when he decided to be a good one.

Idakaar, a lifelong Succasunna resident and TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, bought his fifth home in July 1997. A big event, one that could have been joyous, ended up being stressful and unenjoyable.

“I had a bad experience,” he ...

Roxbury Diner: Homespun Hospitality Through Thick and Thin

ROXBURY, NJ – Roxbury was being buried in snow March 14 and most businesses were closed. Not Roxbury Diner.

Roxbury Diner isn’t like most businesses.For co-owner Jimmy Dontas, a snowstorm – even a blizzard – isn’t a reason to suspend operations. Instead, it’s a call to action.

To many in town, Roxbury Diner – a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor – is ...

It Began With Filling Your Tank; Now They Fix Your Grandson’s Car

When we drive east on Route 10 through Roxbury, many of us might remember a Shell station at the Randolph border next to the golf range. It was in that station that Nancy and Peyton Knight began their long history of auto repair in the township.

That was 1983 and soon the Knights’ business grew and expanded. The humble gas station gradually morphed into a state-of-the-art ...

Orthopedic Urgent Care in Roxbury - Open Late and on Weekends

ROXBURY, NJ – It’s a pleasant Sunday morning, you’re playing volleyball in the back yard with the kids and – forgetting you’re not 17 anymore – you jump up to smack that ball.

Instead of feeling the satisfaction of an unanswered spike, you feel the stinging pain of a wounded ankle.

The only good thing about this scenario is that you live in Roxbury. That ...

Love of His Hometown Drives Roxbury Realtor Ted Miller II

ROXBURY, N.J. – Most local real estate agents can tell you what houses are for sale in Roxbury. Ted Miller can probably tell you what was there before the houses were built. 

Miller, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, grew up in the township and has watched it change from bucolic to bustling. The son of a local Realtor, ...

Three Sons at His Side, John Klein Makes Plumbing a Family Affair

ROXBURY, N.J. - Running water and a warm house during winter months are some of the most important amenities we enjoy -- and often take for granted -- in our homes.

With John Klein Plumbing & Heating, a TAPinto Roxbury sponsor, residents of Roxbury (and beyond) have a father-and-sons company they count on for reliable plumbing and heating services to keep the ...

Letters to TAPinto Roxbury

St. Therese K of C Says 'Thanks Roxbury'

April 20, 2018

Dear Editor,

St Therese Knights of Columbus Council #6320 would like to extend a heartfelt THANK YOU to the residents of Roxbury and its surrounding communities for their continued support of our annual Citizens with Developmental Disabilities Drive held April 13-15.

Your generosity enabled us to raise $4,700 which will go to support the missions of the local Department for Persons with ...

Roxbury School Board Statement Inaccurate and Misleading

Dear Editor,

I am writing in response to the Roxbury Board of Education’s April 11 online news release regarding the status of negotiations with the Roxbury Education Association (REA). 

To say we are disappointed by this piece of fiction, written by what can only be described as selective memory on their part, is putting it mildly.  It is inaccurate, misleading, and a ...

Roxbury Golf Management Student Brian Quilty Honored at Coastal Carolina

March 1, 2018

CONWAY, SC -- Brian Quilty of Succasunna, is among the 106 Professional Golf Management students at Coastal Carolina University with a 3.0 GPA or higher. A 2.0 GPA is required to remain enrolled in the program.

"Our PGA Golf Management Program students take their academics seriously and are committed to performing at a high level," said Will Mann, PGA, director of the ...

Student from Succasunna Makes RIT Dean's List

ROCHESTER, NY -- Joelle Marston of Succasunna, who is in the environmental sustainability, health and safety program, made the Dean's List for the fall semester at Rochester Institute of Technology.

Degree-seeking undergraduate students are eligible for Dean's List if their term GPA is greater than or equal to 3.400; they do not have any grades of "Incomplete", "D" ...

Two From Roxbury Area Make Loyola Dean's List

BALTIMORE, MD -- Two students from the Roxbury area made the Loyola University fall 2017 Dean's List.

In order to qualify for the Dean's List at Loyola, a student must achieve a minimum QPA of at least 3.500 for the term, provided that, in the term they have successfully completed courses totaling a minimum of 15 credits.

The following local students have achieved this ...

Three from Roxbury Area Make James Madison Dean's List

HARRISONBURG, VA -- James Madison University is pleased to announce the following students made the dean's list for the fall 2017 semester:

Jordan Israel Taylor of Flanders .

Nicolette Thorkildsen of Flanders .

Olivia J Viparina of Ledgewood .

Students who earn dean's list honors must carry at least 12 graded credit hours and earn a GPA of between 3.5 and 3.899.

Totaro Makes Hofstra Dean's List

HEMPSTEAD, NY -- Julia Totaro of Mt. Arlington excelled during the Fall 2017 semester, achieving a GPA of at least 3.5 to earn a spot on the Hofstra University Dean's List.

Roxbury Area Students Named to the Marist College Dean's List

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY -- The following local students have been named to the Marist College Dean's List for the Fall 2017 semester:

Mariah Christian of Flanders is a member of the Class of 2018 and is majoring in Communication.

Jenna Ficula of Flanders is a member of the Class of 2019 and is majoring in Computer Science.

Erika Hofgesang of Kenvil, is a member of the Class of ...

Press Releases

MWBI Music Festival At Roxbury, April 21

April 12, 2018

ROXBURY, NJ - Roxbury High School, Music for All, and the Roxbury Band Parents Association (RHSBPA) are pleased and proud to announce the Fifth Annual Metropolitan Wind Band Invitational (MWBI) Saturday, April 21 in the Roxbury High School Auditorium, 1 Bryant Drive, in Succasunna, NJ.

This all-day music festival will be filled with 18 performances by several of the regions most ...