King George News

Cathy Dyson writes about King George County. You can email her at

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Landfill manager: “We’ve addressed the problems”

I just realized I never posted this after last week’s Board of Supervisors meeting. We’ve printed a lot about the King George County landfill in recent years as it’s dealt with an ongoing odor issue. So now that the smell problem seems to be fixed, it’s only fair to publish that as well.

At the July 19 meeting of the King George County Board of Supervisors, Thomas Cue, district manager at the King George landfill, told supervisors the facility has gone four months without a gas-odor complaint from neighbors.

“I think we’ve addressed the problems. We’ve nipped it in the bud,” Cue said. “I guess the odor issue is [that] there are no issues right  now, and I’m happy to say that out loud.”

Supervisors were happy to hear it. Supervisor John LoBuglio told Cue that residents have noticed the cleaner-smelling air around the landfill.

“We thank you for that effort,” LoBuglio said.

“Thank you for being so patient,” Cue responded.

News from the landfill has gotten decidedly better since 2009, when neighbors started complaining about foul smells that filled their homes, vehicles and nostrils.

 Landfill and state officials discovered that ash from a coal-fired plant in Alexandria had been treated with a substance that’s not a problem by itself, but when mixed with decomposing trash and water it caused an increase in hydrogen sulfide, a compound that smells like rotten eggs.

Officials realized levels of hydrogen sulfide were 32 times higher in King George than in most landfills.

Since then, Waste Management has stopped accepting the Alexandria ash and invested more than $7.5 million in measures to reduce the odor it left behind. That included putting a giant bag around the area that contained most of the ash.

The landfill also runs a mister system to keep down any smells that may escape from the giant bag.

Cue mentioned that the landfill had gotten two complaints in the last month about trash, but attributed the odor to the rail car that brings garbage to King George from  Annapolis, Md. One carload had been “sitting there a while” and caused a smell as it went past, Cue said.