Complaints about smelly Orange County landfill increase as work to fix problem continues

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Complaints about the smell emanating from an Orange County landfill are higher this month than they’ve ever been.

Channel 9 first uncovered the landfill was mixing different kinds of trash that led to hydrogen sulfide being released into the air.

Since then, several attempts to get rid of the smell have fallen short.

When families began to move into new homes on the northeast end of Lake Nona, they said they rarely smelled a thing, but that's changed.

The residents live about three and a half miles southwest of the landfill.

“What started out as a nuisance a couple of years ago has turned into something that is just horrible,” said resident Tiffany Comiskey.

“It smells like human feces more often than not,” said resident Desiree Ugarte.

The change in seasons pushed the smell south, and landfill manager Jim Becker said the weather is delaying attempts to fix it.

“By the end of next week, they should start smelling a difference," Becker said.

He said by then, new gas collection wells will be finished and able to suck more of the gas underground.

“We should see a significant improvement in that particular odor. That rotten-egg smell should go away,” Becker said.

He also told Eyewitness News that a test case involving an experimental ground cover went well enough to lay down much more, which will trap the smell and block water from getting in.  Without the cover, water might be able to enter the new gas wells, which would prevent them from collecting the gas underground.

Meanwhile, a three-month study on whether the gas is actually harmful recently wrapped up, and residents are wondering what state regulators found.

There will be a public meeting next month to discuss whatever the state has to say about the health effects of the gas coming out of the landfill.