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DEP to conduct survey on Zemel landfill odor

By Staff | Dec 23, 2014

Take a drive down U.S. 41 in southernmost Charlotte County and it’s unmistakable; a strong odor fills your nose and lasts for several miles as you drive past Zemel Road and the landfill that runs parallel to the highway.

And if the wind is blowing from the north or northwest, people who live and work in northernmost Lee County – including Cape Coral and North Fort Myers – can smell it, too.

Many of these people are literally getting sick of it, and won’t take it anymore.

Thankfully, the Florida DOT is hearing their complaints and prepared to find ways to fix the problem. It will conduct a survey into the odor at the landfill, and anyone within a three-mile radius of the area can respond.

Terry Cerullo, environmental administrator and outreach coordinator for the Florida DEP, works with community and business owners. He said it will be working with the three Zemel Road facilities and the residents to create an action plan to solve the issue.

“Dry season should be less odorous than wet season. There are multiple reasons and causes and we need to find a solution,” Cerullo said.

Cerullo said the odor has been intermittent for some time. It can last for several minutes or even longer depending on the weather, wind direction and rain.

The survey will be online from now until the end of rainy season next year. Cerullo said that does not mean it will take a year to create an action plan.

The DEP is communicating with the three facilities to make improvements as needed.

The three facilities include the privately owned WBI Construction and Demolition Landfill and the Charlotte County Bio-Recycling Facility, and the Charlotte County-owned landfill, which has been in operation since 1975 and is expected to last for another 30 years or more, according to the Charlotte County website.

For additional information about the survey, contact Cerullo at 344-5647.