'What's that smell? Newburgh Housing Authority fights odor at senior housing complex caused by garbage and heat

For much of Wednesday, the doors were open to help move out the smell and maintenance workers were mopping the floors.

Ben Nandy

Jun 26, 2024, 10:17 PM

Updated 18 days ago

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The Newburgh Housing Authority's building maintenance staff is coming close to fully stamping out a pesky odor at a senior housing complex that was brought on by garbage, intense heat and – to an extent – the state's plastic bag ban.
Louise Turner lives at Fogarty Senior Apartments on Johnston Street on the third floor, near the garbage chute which sends trash down to a compactor on the first floor.
Turner said the smell, which originated in the trash compactor room, is subsiding.
"I'm trying to manage," Turner said. "I ain't got nothing but fans."
Building superintendent Harold Reyford said the trash compactor recently became overwhelmed with raw, unbagged garbage.
The device presses garbage on an automatic schedule, and between presses, trash accumulated, contributing to the smell.
Reyford said the recent stretch 90-degree heat amplified the odor.
"With garbage – raw garbage – being in there, sometimes it's hard to get rid of the smell, but we do our best."
For much of Wednesday, the doors were open to help move out the smell and maintenance workers were mopping the floors.
The garbage smell is also blamed on trash left in hallways.
A small few residents told News 12 the odor keeps arising because outsiders keep entering the building and leaving debris behind.
"With the rent so high, if I had a choice, ​I'd move up out of here," one resident who declined to be identified said. "I'd just move out of here."
The majority of residents who spoke with News 12 are more patient.
Minnie McClinten has lived at Fogarty Apartments for 32 years.
She said neighbors should "give them (the housing authority) time to do what they can" to quell the smell.
She said residents can help solve the odor issue by taking pride in the building and being mindful of who they allow in into the building.
"We're all a community," she said. "There's a whole lot of us here, so when we all work together, we can get somewhere."
Several others mentioned the housing authority's latest efforts to increase overall safety and quality of life, including the addition of a surveillance camera system, an upgrade to the trash compactor and community barbeques.
Reyford also mentioned that one big contributor to the problem is that plastic bags are much less available since the state's ban on plastic carryout bags took effect in early 2020.
He says this has led some residents to throw old fruits and scraps of meat directly into the trash chute, and they're educating residents to better control their garbage.


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