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Meeting Set For Rolling Hills Landfill Gas Emissions Report

Josh Morton

An public meeting is set for Friday afternoon from 3:00 - 7:30 pm at the Marie K. Young-Wedgewood Community Center at 6405 Wagner Road in Pensacola. The meeting is to answer questions and take comments on a preliminary health report on the Rolling Hills Landfill’s hydrogen sulfide gas emissions. 

Dr. John Lanza, the Director of the Florida Department of Health in Escambia County says in 2014, his office requested that FDOH public health toxicologists conduct a health consultation on hydrogen sulfide gas emissions from the Rolling Hills Landfill, located in the Wedgewood community. On March 3 the preliminary report of that health consultation was released. Now it’s time for the public to weigh in on the situation with questions and comments. Lanza says those toxicology experts from FDOH will be at a table at the meeting, as will representatives of the Health Department, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection and the Escambia County government.

It was last spring that a “rotten eggs” smell was noticed around the Rolling Hills Landfill, as well as complaints of eye irritation and respiratory problems. The problems were consistent with the effects of inhaling hydrogen sulfide gas. That triggered the request for the report. It was determined that the gas was coming from the decaying drywall that was deposited there after last year’s flood.

So, what’s in that preliminary report? One of the conclusions is that hydrogen sulfide gas is indeed present at the landfill, and that it is present in amounts that can cause human health problems so it is a health hazard. There is also particulate matter coming from the landfill but it could not be determined if that was also a health hazard. The report recommends that the operators of the landfill keep hydrogen sulfide levels below 70 parts per billion. They also recommend that the county continue monitoring for hydrogen sulfide as well as begin monitoring for particulate matter.

Dr. John Lanza says that after the public has its chance to ask questions and offer comments, the final report will be submitted to the county and Department of Environmental Protection for an action plan to fix the problem.  Again, the open house – public meeting is set for Friday afternoon from 3-7:30 pm at the Marie K. Young-Wedgewood Community Center on Wagner Road in Pensacola.