HOPKINS, Minn. - Some neighbors in Hopkins are holding their noses.
"Some days it's worse than others," says Judy Clark. "It depends on the wind and how warm it is."
Crews are spending this fall digging up a closed landfill, exposing garbage that's been buried for more than 30 years.
"I can smell it right now," chuckles another neighbor. "But it's not a big concern for most of us."
The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency is reconfiguring the closed landfill, ensuring it will be at least 200 feet from homes and apartments. The goal is to dig up a quarter of the 500,000 tons of waste and move it towards the middle of the 26-acre plot of land. MPCA crews will also install a new gas extraction system in order to prevent methane gas leaks, something that was possible with the old system.
"The reconstruction will vastly improve the amount of gas we can extract," said Peter Tiffany, the MPCA project engineer. "It will be a much smaller footprint and deeper waste."
There are 112 closed landfills in the state, the one in Hopkins has the most dense population nearby. It's why the MPCA deemed it a top priority.
"This site had climbed to our number one risk," said Tiffany. "We are definitely getting this landfill under control now."
As for the smell?
"It's more of a nuisance than anything," says Tiffany. "It's not a health hazard."
The $2.8 million project began October 1 and will officially be complete next summer. Officials say the odor will last until December.
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