Several complaints of odors emanating from Rapid City's landfill have prompted the city's Solid Waste Division to look into additional ways to mitigate the sometimes putrid smells.
The Solid Waste Division will update the Public Works Committee today on long-term ideas to lessen odors with ideas that have been brewing since before the complaints surfaced.
The solutions to reducing odor are pretty simple, said Karl Merbach, Solid Waste division manager.
"We just got to do our best management practices here to keep things under control," he said.
Those practices include not doing certain work during high winds that carry smells. Sometimes, Rapid City's unpredictable weather and frequent weather inversions make controlling odor a challenge, he said.
One long-term idea for preventing odors is to keep all composting operations in one building. Currently, compost is scooped into a loader bucket and driven from one building to another to complete the composting process.
A single building would allow composting operations to continue even during high winds and reduce the transport of wastes.
Many present-day issues can be traced back to when the landfill — located on the south side of Rapid City just south of the intersection of Catron Boulevard and S.D. Highway 79 — was built in the 1950s, Merbach said. Then, it was two miles outside town. Now, development has encroached on the landfill.
"There's just a lot of growth around the landfill here," Merbach said.
The landfill had not made any major changes to its operation before the recent spate of odor complaints; officials will investigate all other complaints, Merbach said
The Legal & Finance Committee will meet immediately after the Public Works Committee.