Fumes in Tinton Falls

default article imageAn ongoing odor problem caused by hydrogen sulfide emissions at the Tinton Falls Relamation Center, affecting students who live and commute to the area.

At a meeting of the governing body on Feb. 5, Tinton Falls Borough Council President Gary Baldwin said, “[Officials] are saying to the Monmouth County Reclamation Center and the people who oversee it that they didn’t do their job. They admitted it.” The individuals who oversee the landfill have accepted responsibility for the odor. The trash was not treated properly, which resulted in hydrogen sulfide emissions.

Ivan Gepner, Ph.D., an associate professor of biology, said that the odor should not have adverse health effects on the surrounding population.

Still, state Senator Vin Gopal, who represents Tinton Falls in the 11th Legislative District, organized a Town Hall last month for residents in the area to speak about their concerns regarding the odor. He later issued a statement that the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection will continue to conduct tests of hydrogen sulfide emissions at the reclamation center to ensure the levels remain below the regulatory limit. 

“From speaking with residents, I understand the impact the odor is having on their lives,” said Gopal. “I will do everything I can to push for progress and keep residents updated as we work to resolve this issue.”

Owen Harper, a freshman criminal justice student, explained that the Monmouth University club hockey team plays in the area. “It smells exactly like sewage every time we drive down there, it’s really unpleasant and gross,” he said. 

Brittany Macaluso, a sophomore social work student who was golfing near Tinton Falls last Saturday, described the odor as a mixture of garbage and rotten eggs and questions if the smell could potentially spread to the University. 

An incinerator was considered in the 1990s, but the idea was rejected. However, the persistent odor has caused the idea to resurface. At a public meeting last month, residents suggested the use of incinerators to burn garbage. 

Jeanine Cava, an adjunct professor of chemistry and physics, said that incineration is not a preferred method of waste removal. She does not know the precise toxicity level associated with the process, but it surprises her that residents consider it to be a viable option. 

Greg Moehring, Ph.D., an associate professor of chemistry, said that the environmental ramifications of incineration when done properly, does not release many contaminants into the air. However, he explained that if the combustion process is not properly run, there runs the risk of putting less beneficial molecules into the air, like carbon monoxide.