BRISTOL, Tenn. (WJHL) — From some in Bristol, breathing fresh air comes with a cost.
As Bristol, Virginia officials continue to work on resolving the odor issues with the city’s landfill, people on both sides of the state line are taking finding relief into their own hands.
“It’s a shame that we have to do that and spend money to live like that,” Bristol, Tennessee resident Mike Dean said. “It’s a shame that we can’t even enjoy our house.”
People have turned to air purifiers, filters, humidifiers, and essential oils and the costs for those items can add up.
“It’s in the thousands right now,” said Bryan Strickland, a resident of Bristol, Tennessee. “But long term, it’s going to be tens of thousands of dollars.”
Strickland came to Bristol last June not knowing about the issues surrounding Bristol, Virginia’s landfill. He kept the heat off for much of this winter because it brings in the stink, but that led to catastrophe.
“I actually had water pipes burst two weeks ago in a bathroom because the temperature in the house had gotten so low,” Strickland said.
Others, like Robert Jenkins, have turned to airing out their homes during the day, driving up heating costs on top of purchasing purifiers.
“The electric bill is running about $70 higher than it does normally this time of year,” Jenkins said.
Dean said he has spent almost $3,000 into his fight against the smells. He said he is even dealing with medical bills from taking his children to the doctor for nosebleeds.
“It’s our dream home that we feel like we have to leave, for our health and our sanity,” Dean said.
The odors are also hurting potential investments as Dean hoped to make money by renting out spare bedrooms via Airbnb.
“I was planning on making a good amount through renters,” Dean said. “I’m struggling to find anyone to come through that’s willing to put up with this.”
Jenkins said that after a difficult two years financially due to the pandemic, the costs of the landfill are an added burden.
“Then we get hit with this, so a lot of us are spending money that we don’t have,” Jenkins said.