San Jose

Neighbors Upset Over Milpitas Landfill, Say Smell is Unbearable

Neighbors living in Milpitas are fighting with a nearby landfill, saying the smell has become unbearable.

The landfill is located right off Dixon Landing Road and the 880 freeway. And later in January, the San Jose Planning Commission will consider allowing a larger landfill.

Republic Services, which runs the landfill, has applied for a revised permit that would increase the height and capacity of the landfill and extend its expected closure date from 2025 to 2041. Officials had previously said they are working diligently to control odors emanating from the landfill.

But some neighbors said the stench is so bad they are left with only two options--move or fight back.

"Almost every day I smell the odor," neighbor Nika Chen said. "I can't open the window. I can't stay in my front yard or backyard. It's so bad, I'm thinking of leaving."

Hundreds of concerned residents have started a grass roots campaign to fight the possible landfill expansion. They have launched a social media campaign called "Milpitas Odor Problem," getting hundreds of signatures asking authorities to not allow the landfill to expand.

Residents have also started a petition on against the Newby Island landfill.

"For generations, we have been tolerating this nasty odor, airborne bacteria, rodents, feces, dangerous chemicals within less than one mile of Milpitas residents," Milpitas resident Shiqun Strohfus said on the petition. " It is time to retire the garbage dump site!"

Jennifer Strohfus said she is working with other neighbors to hand out 20,000 fliers, letting people know what they can do to protest the expansion. She is also working on Facebook and getting people to commit to protesting at San Jose City Hall.

The city's department of planning, building, and code enforcement division is one of the main agencies deciding on the permit.

Joseph Weinstein has lived in the area since 1976 and said the smell is so bad, it is making people sick.

"We have teachers in schools who take their kids off the playground," Weinstein said. "It's so uncomfortable. It's so bad, the kids are getting sick from the odor"

Residents have also filed a lawsuit, calling the landfill a health risk.

Neighbors said they are champions for change, and they do not plan to stop until they steer the stench out of their backyard.

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