More capping and odor mitigation
The Town of Brookhaven has started using hydrogen peroxide and is prepping for the largest, single capping project to take place this summer in an effort to calm the odors.

Adv/Photo courtesy of Town of Brookhaven

More capping and odor mitigation



In recent efforts to mitigate smells caused by leachate at the Town of Brookhaven Landfill, hydrogen peroxide has been implemented. Town officials also announced another phase of capping, in which prep work was done during the colder winter months, January through March, to reduce odor caused by stirring up debris.

Over the past year, according to the DEC, which recently released its second landfill factsheet in response to the town’s required Corrective Action Plan, the town has taken various steps to improve the leachate collection system, which is basically the collection and eventual disposal of runoff due to rain/stormwater, including a storage trailer for inventory of pumps and motors for replacements, which will help minimize down time of any system, resulting in build up and odor, accompanied by an extensive monthly leachate maintenance schedule to prevent malfunction with regular repair work.

The system was designed to inject 30 seconds of a mist of odor-neutralizing fog into chambers of runoff every 15 minutes daily. According to Matt Miner, commissioner of recycling and sustainable materials management, the town recently discovered hydrogen peroxide as a more effective odor neutralizer as opposed to the previously used calcium substance. “After a bench study sample of the leachate, it was discovered that the peroxide was neutralizing the sulfide to virtually zero,” he said.

Since then, the town has decided to implement a temporary tank of hydrogen peroxide to utilize a more steady flow and has plans to find a more permanent solution by installing a 5,000-gallon tank with the ability to pump two gallons per minute, or up to 15 gallons per minute in case of a surge to both of the leachate 800,000-gallon storage tanks located on the north portion of the site.

Though cost has not been finalized due to different rates per gallon, Miner said the peroxide does cost more. “It’s not about the money, but rather about getting the results needed to help address the odor concerns,” he said. The town, he continued, spends about $2 million a year on leachate treatment, collection, transfer and disposal.

The collected leachate is then transferred by trucks to Bergen Point and treated at the county’s wastewater treatment facility. According to Miner, the town collects and transfers about 25 million gallons per year, or about 100,000 gallons per day.

In addition to the usage of peroxide, Miner said the town has been working to complete the capping of the top of the landfill — a major source of odor — by capping another 31 acres as the largest, single capping project in the town’s history. 

Capping, he said, will also help reduce the amount of leachate that is produced.

The prep work for that project, including cutting and laying liner, he explained, has been done during the winter months so as to have minimal impact on the surrounding community, while windows are most likely shut and children at Frank P. Long Intermediate School aren’t out at recess. A contractor will finish the capping by installing a geomembrane this summer. 

Once completed, cell 6, of which a portion has already been capped and a portion is yet to be built, will remain, totaling existing capped landfill at 75 percent, keeping true to the town’s promise of capping more than 70 percent by 2018.

“Despite the odors stirred up by capping, it’s for the long-term goal. It’s really a one-two punch with the positive effect the peroxide has on the odor and the capping,” Miner added. “We are really looking to minimize odor to the greatest extent possible.”

In January 2015, DEC started receiving an increasing number of odor complaints about the landfill. Residents of neighboring communities reported rotten egg, sulfur and sewage-type odors, most of which came from Frank P. Long Intermediate School, which is located to the southwest of the landfill. At that time, the town hired a consultant to develop a plan to monitor the sources of odor and dust, including on-site air measurements. In December 2016, the town identified odor sources, evaluated existing control systems and redesigned the gas collections, as well as evaluated their leachate collection system.

Joseph Cipp, who lives near the high school, was wary of the effect the efforts will have. He said that the reality is the landfill just doesn’t belong in the residential area. “It’s plain and simple, it just shouldn’t be here,” he said, stating that he will be waiting for the summer months when the odors really start percolating to see if the town’s efforts have made a difference.

For more information on the DEC factsheet, contact Aphrodite Montalvo,  public participation specialist at 631-444-0249 or email: To access the factsheet visit: and follow the links. 

The Brookhaven Landfill is a New York State Department of Environmental Conservation permitted facility located in the hamlet of Yaphank, town of Brookhaven, Suffolk County. The landfill began operating in 1974 and initially accepted household waste, or municipal solid waste. This MSW was placed in cells (designated areas) 1-4. The disposal of MSW ceased in 1990 in compliance with the Long Island Landfill Law. Construction of cells 5 and 6 took place after 1990. Cell 5, which accepted construction and demolition debris and ash from local resource recovery plants, is currently being capped and prepared for closure. Cell 6 is currently active and accepting C&D debris, ash and other fill material. The landfill has a gas collection system for methane and other gases and a permanent flare to burn the gases to reduce odors and other emissions. The landfill also has a leachate collection system for the liquid that passes or ‘leaches’ through the waste mass. At this time, cells 1-5 are capped and closed, leaving cell 6 active and to be capped. The purpose of capping is to contain and provide a barrier to the disposed waste and prevent rainwater from infiltrating it and causing leaching.