Baton Rouge, LA (NBC33) — People who live in the Alsen area north of Baton Rouge say something foul is going on.
A company called Louisiana Land Acquisitions has applied for a permit to build a private landfill on Brooklawn Drive, just west of Scenic Highway. The landfill would hold industrial solid waste.
Alsen is a short distance southeast, on the other side of Scenic Highway.
"It's bad enough with the train that's here," Mark Darensbourg said, "running at 12:00, 2:00 in the morning. All night long it sounds like thunder."
Darensbourg has worked in industrial plants since he graduated high school, and claimed to be familiar with the types of waste the proposed landfill would hold.
"And it's harmless," he noted, "but it smells like rotten crawfish."
East Baton Rouge Parish has a large landfill just to the north of the proposed site. Darensbourg and his neighbors tolerate that facility, he said, because it is far enough away that they do no smell it.
More worrisome Ronaldson Field Landfill, which sits adjacent to the neighborhood on the southeast corner.
"I remember when my kids were younger, they thought it was a mountain," Darensbourg recalled. "And I had to tell them it was a landfill."
Residents opposed the landfill before it was built, but their appeals failed to stop its creation.
"It smells, especially when the humidity's high," Darensbourg stated. "Just the degrading material they have over there. It's supposed to be construction debris, but they hall all kinds of things down there. Especially after a hurricane or a storm, all this rotten wood and everything, it really smells bad."
But some people believe that landfill has caused much greater problems than an odor.
"It's a lot of people getting sick from that, I think," Lily Peterson claimed. "A lot of people is dying from cancer and stuff around here. And I really think it's coming from all that stuff they've been putting over there."
The neighbors have the public support of local politicians, but they worry about what is said behind closed doors. They have been burned before.
"Me, if I had the money, I would move out of here in a split second," Peterson said, "because I don't think it's safe in here."
The next chance for people to share their opinions about the proposed landfill will be Thursday, July 18, at 6:00 p.m., during a public hearing at Greenwood Community Park, 13350 Highway 19.