Forest Acres resident says backyard smells like ‘slightly masked garbage dump’

Forest Acres resident says backyard smells like ‘slightly masked garbage dump’

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WIS) - When you open your back door, you expect a breath of fresh air. But when Ben Green walks out his door, the smell that hits him is anything but roses.

"If I bring my dogs out I can smell it,” Green said. “I walk into the front yard I can smell it. It smells like a slightly masked garbage dump."

Green said it’s usually in the morning between 6 and 9 a.m. He and his family live in the North Trenholm Road area of Forest Acres. He thinks the smell comes from the landfill on Screaming Eagle Road in Lugoff.

But that’s almost 12 miles away.

“With humidity, stuff sticks in the air,” said Rachel Williams, who works for Wilson’s Refrigeration and Air. “You bring that all in your house.”

Williams tests the air quality inside customer’s homes using a device called Air Advice.

“We put it in there for 48 to 72 hours and in that time it collects a bunch of data,” Williams said. “It goes over things like particulates, chemicals, carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide.”

Green’s indoor air quality is great, according to the completed report.

But data from the American Lung Association lists Richland County’s most current air quality score as a “C.” It’s better than the 2008 rating, which was an “F.”

WIS reached out to DHEC. When asked about the particular odor on North Trenholm at the Green’s house, they said they will investigate.

“When there is heavy cloud cover and the air is damp/humid, odors often get trapped near the surface of the earth rather than going up into the atmosphere to be dispersed," a DHEC official said. "It is not uncommon for us to receive odor complaints during these type of weather events due to what is called an ‘air inversion,’ which holds odors near the ground.”

While Green can control the air inside his home, he wants to know if there’s anything to help what’s going on outside.

The family does live on a lake that sits right in the backyard. But DHEC hasn’t gotten any information about illegal dumping in that area.

DHEC’s spokesperson also told WIS the landfill is a bit far to be the likely source of the smell, but they will consider that along with other potential reasons.

The investigation could take anywhere from a couple days to a couple weeks.

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