The city is taking steps to find the source of the smell making life miserable for some living in Southeast Calgary this summer.
Naqib Khanjan is an avid runner, but these days, he says the smell in his neighborhood is limiting the time he spends outside.
“We are not even enjoying our summer. There is a very bad smell, ”said Khanjan. “Sometimes I go for a run around New Brighton and when I get to the point where there are car dealers, it’s really bad.”
He said the smell has been there ever since he moved to New Brighton six years ago, but this year he said it’s worse.
“It’s really, really bad. To be honest, I can’t even describe it. We think it’s garbage. It’s a landfill, garbage smell,” Khanjan said.
The Shepard Landfill is directly north of New Brighton, as is the city’s composting facility. There are also farm fields and wetlands in the area, all of which are potentially suspects when it comes to the source of the stench.
Ward 12 Coun said, “Which is prevalent now, ruining people’s evenings is like the smell of sour garbage.” Evan Spencer Joe addressed this issue in his blog This week. “It will smell a little bit like a dump, which certainly leads people to believe it’s likely to be a dump.”
He said the Shepard landfill is not believed to be the cause of the problem.
Spencer went to tour the facility in April and says he was amazed at how little smell was in the surrounding area.
“I’m a little more concerned about the compost facility,” he said. “Whenever I drive around that area, I smell the most … but it’s hard to detect.”
The city has invested in odor control systems at a composting facility that opened in 2017.
City officials said the air inside the facility is cleaned to remove ammonia and run through a biofilter before exiting.
The Chinook Resource Management Group, which manages the facility, requires the facility to manage odors so that they stay below acceptable levels. This is verified every year by a process that involves collecting air samples for analysis of odor levels.
The city said that over the past several months, the operator of the compost facility has increased the strength of the solution being used in air scrubbers and reduced the amount of compost prepared on-site by more than 60 percent.
According to the city, “computer models have shown that odors from a composting facility should not be detectable in neighboring communities.”
This facility will replace the biofilter material in 2022.
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Spencer said the smell peaks in the summer but has also been detected in the winter.
“That leaves city officials, and it leaves me and those who have been following the conversation for some time, to the conclusion that there are probably too many different sources,” Spencer said.
Spencer said residents have been tolerant of the smell.
“I believe the people of those neighborhoods, in particular, have learned to live with it to an extent,” he said. “I believe it has increased somewhat over the past few weeks. I have heard stories of people who have all their windows closed and yet, the smell fills the whole house.”
Khanjan said he respects that the landfill was there before, but wonders why communities were built next to potentially smelly facilities.
“Why does the City of Calgary allow these builders to build houses here when they know there’s a landfill there?” Khanjan asked.
Spencer said the city has hired a third party who will begin an investigation into the smell in August. He’s encouraging residents to call the city’s 311 service when they detect something that smells strange.
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