Sierra Club joins Kearny’s fight to close Keegan 

The New Jersey Sierra Club is joining Kearny in its ongoing efforts to shut down the Keegan Landfill and will participate in the town’s planned April 27 protest at the landfill.


For months, the landfill owned by the NJSEA has generated excessive hydrogen sulfide emissions producing a rotten-egg smell. Residents have reported health impacts including headaches and nausea from the foul odors.  Earlier this month, the DEP ordered the NJSEA to reduce hydrogen sulfide gas emissions.

The protest will begin on Saturday, April 27 at 11:30 a.m. at the Kearny DPW at 357 Bergen Ave. Residents will then march to the landfill.

“The people in Kearny have had enough. They are going to protest DEP’s inaction on the Keegan Landfill. We stand with them and will march with them,” Jeff Tittel, director of the NJ Sierra Club said in a statement today. “We will work to organize their march and continue fighting this growing health nightmare. Residents have been suffering from these toxic odors from the site for months. We have been calling on DEP to take over the site and clean the landfill properly. They have the authority, but have refused to use it. DEP has only taken small steps pushing NJSEA to reduce the odors. The public has every reason to be outraged at DEP’s refusal to take control of the site.”

The NJSEA has already been fined for excessive hydrogen sulfide emissions. They have also been cited for allowing illegal dumping of sewage at the landfill. Rotting drywall is also a major contributor to hydrogen sulfide gas emissions. People living within a mile of the Keegan Landfill have been living in homes that smell like rotten eggs. In Roxbury, residents near the Fenimore Landfill lived with similar toxic odors for more than five years, experiencing significant health impacts.

“DEP is doing nothing while serious health impacts from hydrogen sulfide have been found at the Kearny landfill. These nasty chemicals can burn lungs, eyes and create a toxic nightmare and that’s why people have to act. If DEP does not act immediately to contain and clean up the Keegan Landfill we will see another community health disaster like we saw in Roxbury at the Fenimore Landfill. People were sick for months from the toxic odors there and it took two years to properly clean up the site. The people of Kearny should not have to suffer for so long,” Tittel said.

The Fenimore disaster prompted bill S2861(Smith), which was signed into law.  The law gives DEP the authority to prevent, minimize or monitor pollution or health hazards resulting from landfills. That establishes DEP’s authority to address toxic smells at the Keegan Landfill.

“DEP can declare a health emergency and seize control of the Kearny landfill. That’s what the people of Kearny are demanding, but DEP keeps delaying a proper mitigation and cleanup plan. People need to march and show up and force DEP to do its job. DEP needs to start listening to the people of Kearny who continue to suffer from these toxic odors. Otherwise they are putting the health of Kearny residents at even more risk,” Tittel said.

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Kevin A. Canessa Jr. is the editor of and broadcaster at The Observer, an organization he has served since 2006. He is responsible for the editorial content of the newspaper and website, the production of the e-Newspaper, writing several stories per week (including the weekly editorial), conducting live broadcasts on social media channels such as YouTube, Facebook, and X, including a weekly recap of the news — and much more behind the scenes. Between 2006 and 2008, he introduced the newspaper to its first-ever blog — which included podcasts, audio and video. Originally from Jersey City, Kevin lived in Kearny until 2004, lived in Port St. Lucie. Florida, for four years until February 2016 and in March of that year, he moved back to Kearny to return to The Observer full time. Click Here to send Kevin an email.