Hundreds attend meeting about the smell coming from Sunny Farms Landfill

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FOSTORIA, Ohio (WTVG) - "It feels like a physical assault."

Nick Buchanan is talking about the smell coming from Sunny Farms Landfill in Seneca county.

"It makes your eyes water, it makes your stomach hurt, it makes it hard to breathe," he added. "It's like a rotten egg smell but on steroids."

That's the case for many people who live near the facility. In fact, a lot of people say the problems permeating from the property are starting to get out of control.

"Your body has to deal with that smell. It's not clean oxygen that you're inhaling anymore," Buchanan said.

So what is it?

The Ohio Department of Health says it's hydrogen Sulfide, a colorless chemical gas that's known to come from landfills, among other places.

It can cause health problems but it all depends on how much, how long and how often a person was exposed.

"How unfortunate is that? To feel like you're a prisoner in your own home," Nat Heiser said.

Heiser is one of several people who've formed a group searching for answers surrounding the landfill and its stench.

He says because of its intensity there is concern that the smell is more dangerous that it seems. Wednesday hundreds of people fill the Tiffin Columbian high school to find out.

"After digging into it and finding out the reasons why the smell came about, we started to learn that there's a lot more going on behind the scenes," Heiser told 13abc.

According to the Ohio EPA, the landfill has been cited for a handful of violations, just in the last three months. From December 20 to February 8 the facility has been hit with odor and litter citations and others.

By order of the state, those issues must be corrected.

"They're on track. We've been out there a couple of times [and] they're on track to meet the deadlines that are set in the orders," Dina Pierce, spokesperson for the Ohio EPA, said.

Pierce adds that the deadlines vary depending on the project.

During the meeting, a representative from Sunny Farms apologized for the inconvenience saying the focus now, is on solutions.

But is it too little too late? Sunny Farms is waiting to have it's license renewed, an annual requirement.

That decision is up to the Seneca County Health Department.

"We understand the citizens concerns," Beth Schweitzer, Seneca county health commissioner said. "We're not turning a blind eye and that's why we wanted to have this [meeting]."

In the meantime, the group of fed up neighbors are still at it, pushing to get answers.

"I'd like to see action, maybe some restrictions, until they can figure this out," Buchanan said.

There is a meeting scheduled for February 28 and it is possible there could be a vote on whether to approve or deny Sunny Farms license.