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‘You will continue to slowly poison us,’ Kearny mayor says amid push for Keegan Landfill cap to contain sickening gas

Posted: 6:08 PM, Oct 17, 2019
Updated: 2019-10-17 18:08:16-04

LYNDHURST, NJ — At a public meeting Thursday of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, which owns Keegan Landfill in Kearny, residents pushed for a cap on top of the garbage pile to contain a noxious gas that can make people sick.

People are worried about their health and the health of their children.

"Let's cap it. What, are you gonna wait for people to get sick? My friends are sick," said Cristina Montague.

Kearny recently won their legal battle. A judge ordered the NJSEA to shut Keegan Landfill down.

But gases are still emanating from the pile.

"We’re fighting for clean air," said another resident.

The dump abuts a children's sports field. Piles of garbage loom over the playground and soccer nets, stacked dozens-of-feet-high.

A cap - or an impervious plastic shield - would bar repeated spikes of hydrogen sulfide.

The NJSEA, the New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection and the town have all been monitoring the hazardous gas. Spikes above 30 parts per billion have forced kids off the soccer field, cancelled community events and forced residents to live with their windows shut.

"Until the cap is there, you will continue to slowly poison us," said Kearny Mayor Alberto Santos.

The board listened but did not respond to residents at today’s meeting.

Residents say they don’t care what is developed on top of the landfill now that it is shut down, they just want it capped so gas stops leaking out into the environment.