BRISTOL, Va. (WJHL) – A man from Bristol, Tennessee brainstormed a way to express his dismay with the ongoing Bristol, Virginia landfill stench.
Steve Graham sports a large sign on his truck that reads, “It’s not just an odor; it’s toxic gas” — referring to the smell radiating from the Bristol, Va. landfill. He displays the sign throughout different parts of the city.
Graham lives 6 miles away from the landfill, and he says that the smell has impacted him both inside and outside of his home.
Graham also claimed that the smell is so strong that he has woken up at night with burning eyes.
“If the local government here can handle it, fine; if not — if it needs to go to federal — bring in the army corps of engineers; I don’t care how it gets fixed as long as it has a permanent fix,” Graham stated.
The City of Bristol Virginia says that leaders have taken steps to fight the odor such as installing gas wells to extract gas that could be contributing to the odor. However, it could still take several weeks for the well fields to be calibrated.
The latest public health assessment revealed that air samples from the landfill and the surrounding area showed elevated levels of benzene, but were “otherwise typical of ambient air in similar small cities in the U.S.”
That report reads, in part, “benzene being emitted at the landfill appears to emanate not primarily from the landfilled MSW, but instead from intrusion of benzene in groundwater that is leaking into the quarry from an offsite plume, the source of which is unknown.”
Despite this, the study found the benzene levels are within health-based standards established by the Virginia DEQ and U.S. EPA. However, the benzene levels near the landfill may be 7-times higher than the typical long-term averages for small cities.