Swisco dump smoldering

September 12, 2006
By Theresa Schmidt

Residents in the Carlyss area have been dealing with smoke from a smoldering dump off Swisco Road.  Such burning is illegal. And some worry the ongoing problem may be hurting their health.

Under certain circumstances state environmental laws allow burning of items such as tree branches from the hurricane. But the burning at Swisco Road Disposal Inc. is not one of those circumstances and it's bothering residents like Sharon Reynolds who lives in Carlyss. Says Reynolds,  "The problem is smog, just like Los Angeles. Smog. I lived in Los Angeles for a while and this was comparable to Los Angeles air."

The fire started Monday September 4th, reportedly from spontaneous combustion...and those who operate the landfill have been dumping water on it.  Reynolds says, "The EPA gentleman told me they had been trying everything they knew to put it out." Reynolds says she and her neighbors worry about health effects. "There's been a real thick haze over Carlyss for a week and two days. I've talked to others and myself included have just felt really, really tired."

State DEQ has been here daily to investigate and has taken air samples. Reynolds hopes the state will take enforcement action. "I hope that these people will be held responsible because if they aren't what's going to happen in the future. We moved out here to Carlyss to be able to enjoy the country air and be able to work in our yard and I just don't think it's fair that a very few can take away our air quality."

Burning of solid waste can lead to fines in excess of $25,000 a day. Carlyss fire officials say the operator plans to bring in truckloads of dirt as efforts continue to extinguish the fire. Such problems can be reported to the Louisiana DEQ hotline at 1-888-763-5424.