Odor Activity and Concerns

Download the 11.29.11 Update from Director OConnell on the lefthand side of this page.

Download Progress Reports on the lefthand side of this page.

One of the goals of RIRRC is to be a good neighbor to our host community and the surrounding municipalities. Part of being a good neighbor is to limit the impact of the Central Landfill and our operations on those who live and work closest to us. We love it when people visit our facility and tell us that they don't smell anything. That's how it should be, and yet unfortunately sometimes odors at landfills do occur. 

There are different types of odors that may be produced as a result of processing and landfilling waste:

  • Fresh trash (carried by trash trucks)
  • Compost (Earthy smell)
  • Landfill gas (some trace gases carry odors)

Each of these odors is a result of a different type of waste or a different type of process. Wet weather, wind direction, and even barometric pressure can all have an effect on how strong an odor is on any given day.

From mid-September 2011 to mid-January 2012, we experienced an unusually high number of odor complaints from residents in both Johnston and Cranston. We acknowledged that the complaints were valid and due to an increase in landfill gas generation at the Central Landfill. Our engineers identified the sources of the odor problems and we developed an aggressive action plan to address them. Part of the action plan was to install air monitors in Johnston and Cranston. Data from these monitors can be found here: www.aamri.info 

Download our Odor Fact Sheet and Action Plan on the lefthand side of this page.   

Let Us Know

If you detect objectionable odors and suspect that they may be coming from the landfill, please call us immediately or email us right away. We record and track each odor concern, and if the calls come in during our operating hours we send an Engineer out to the address to assess the situation. Emails can be sent to odor@rirrc.org and calls can be phoned in to 413-6219. When writing or calling, please leave the following information to help us track the issue:

  • Your name;
  • Specific location and time at which the odor was detected;
  • A description of the odor (gas, earthy, rotten eggs, manure, wet leaves, etc);
  • Your preferred method of contact-email or phone. If leaving a voice mail, please spell out the email address or say the phone number slowly.

We also invite you to come to RIRRC and speak directly with a member of our Engineering staff or with the Executive Director. Our offices are open Monday through Friday from 8:00-4:30. 

And while the odors produced by the landfill are objectionable and are deserving of immediate attention, an independent, third-party firm conducted a Human Health Risk Assessment on landfill gases at RIRRC and determined that no cancer risks, chronic non-cancer hazards, or acute hazards were identified that exceeded applicable US EPA and RI DEM benchmarks for residents, landfill workers, and site workers.

Download the Executive Summary of the Human Health Risk Assessment on the lefthand side of this page.