City of London aims to tackle foul odours near south London landfills | CBC News

A new city project will try to manage the foul odours by determining where and how they are caused at landfills after complaints piled over the years to the Ministry, from residents in south London affected by the smell.

South London has a high concentration of industrial and waste management facilities, including the City of London’s W12A Landfill site and several other private waste processing and handling facilities.

Jay Stanford, director of climate change, environment and waste management with the City of London, said the new $300,000 air and odour monitoring network pilot project will help address this ongoing issue. 

The Ministry of Environment, Conservation and Parks has received these complaints from residents due to the local waste processing and handling industries there, Stanford said.

“Over the years, we’ve been investing in different technology, different odour measurement programs,” Stanford said. “We do our best to make changes where we can, knowing that a landfill site unfortunately does contain garbage and garbage does have an odour.”

“This step now, of moving to a high-tech monitoring system that will be operating 24 hours a day, seven days a week is just a positive step forward from our continuous improvement.”

Jay Stanford, director of climate change, environment and waste management with the City of London, said he thinks the new pilot project is the best solution to the current odour problem in the area. (Kate Dubinski/CBC News)

The pilot project will include a total of six air monitoring stations around the landfill site, and a weather stations. Stanford said this will help the city determine the direction of the wind and the climatic conditions which are potentially contributing to the odour at the landfill site and the actual location of the odour.

The project is estimated to cost around $100,000 a year over the span of three years and is expected to be implemented in the fall once it is passed through the city’s Civic Works Committee end of August.

Matt Newman, general manager of Trek Bicycle Store, said the shop regularly receives complaints from customers who come to test-ride their bikes at the Wellington Road South and Dingman Drive location, and are put off by the foul smell.

“It’s been pretty consistent, generally during the hotter days of the summer and early spring,” Newman said. “It’s this kind of oppressive blanket-y smell that gets everywhere. Smelling a little bit like garbage or something spoiling in the sun but it’s quite repugnant and quite noticeable.”

Newman said the bike shop has been at that location for more than seven years now and while many staff have gotten “fairly desensitized” to the stink by now. The bike shop has made numerous complaints about the foul smell, Newman said, which they believe is coming from the recycling plant.

The City of London’s Landfill Site located at 3502 Manning Drive in south London. (Sara Jabakhanji/CBC)

“[Customers] usually ask us if it’s the London city dump, and it’s actually not,” Newman said. “It’s definitely coming from the recycling plant.”

Newman said the odour wasn’t as bad a few years ago, after the times that they were operating had changed but said it has come back. With this new pilot project proposed, Newman said anything is worth a try. 

“Something is better than nothing. It’s not just businesses around here, the Brockley township just around the corner has families and houses and I know most of them personally, and they have to live with it 24/7.”


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