River Ridge/Harahan Odor issue

  • LDEQ is currently working to investigate odor complaints from the River Ridge/Harahan/Waggaman area of Jefferson Parish. LDEQ conducted multiple inspections at sites that are considered potential odor sources.
LDEQ in Waggaman after odor complaints were received from residents in Jefferson Parish.
  • LDEQ has dispatched its Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory (MAML) to the area several times. The fully equipped MAML has state-of-the-art air monitoring equipment and support equipment and can sample ambient air quality and provide real time results for many compounds. LDEQ personnel also use hand-held meters and summa canisters, a nickel-plated sphere about the size of a soccer ball. The canisters can be used to collect quick “grab” samples or to collect samples over a longer duration.
  • Canister samples collected during an odor incident April 27-May 2 showed readings of hydrogen sulfide and methane (landfill gases) that were elevated above background levels but not in concentrations that are harmful to human health.
  • Extensive sampling by LDEQ personnel in the area indicates Jefferson Parish Landfill is the major source of the odors but the Department continues to investigate other possible contributing sources.
  • LDEQ’s MAML conducted three monitoring missions in the River Ridge and Harahan areas, Feb. 19-24, 2018; April 27-May 3, 2018; and July 20-27.
  • LDEQ’s MAML has also conducted a monitoring missions in the Waggaman area on July 25-27. LDEQ personnel did see some numbers above background levels for H2S in Waggaman. but those were instantaneous or 5-minute averages. The highest 5-minute average was 117 ppb at 7:50 a.m. Friday, July 27. The highest 1-hour average was 40 ppb. The standard (237 ppb) is an 8-hour standard. The highest 8-hour average in Waggaman was 14 ppb.
  • The highest H2S readings from the February mission was 4 parts per billion (ppb). The Louisiana Ambient Air Standard (LAAS) for H2S is 237 ppb. Sulfur dioxide (SO2), another potential odorant gas, was also detected with a high reading of 1 ppb. The National Ambient Air Quality Standard for SO2 is 75 ppb.
  • Sulfur compounds like H2S and SO2 are often the source of nuisance odors. People can often smell these gases in concentrations that are too low for a meter to detect.
LDEQ’s Mobile Air Monitoring Laboratory in Waggaman sampling after the odor complaints. 
  • During the April-May mission, the MAML detected a reading of H2S in a concentration of 12 ppb, lower than the LAAS of 237 ppb. This occurred on April 28-29. It was the highest readings recorded during the mission and coincided with an odor event. Methane was detected in a maximum concentration of 7.54 ppm. Methane is a hydrocarbon gas often produced by the decay of organic material; it is measured as part of the total hydrocarbon category and is not considered toxic.
  • Based on the landfills’ locations upwind of the predominant wind direction at the time of the majority of the odor complaints, DEQ staff conducted early morning cover inspections at Jefferson Parish Landfill and River Birch Landfill on April 27, 2018. LDEQ inspectors found violations at each Landfill, and DEQ Enforcement Division issued a Compliance Order to each facility as a result of these inspections. (The Compliance Orders were dated June 22, 2018.)
  • LDEQ personnel from the Southeast Regional Office in New Orleans and LDEQ Headquarters in Baton Rouge are in Jefferson Parish working with parish personnel and local officials to address the odor issue. All complaints will be investigated in an attempt to identify the source and complainants are informed of the results of the investigation.



The MAML will deploy to the following locations:

Monday, Oct. 8 to Wednesday, Oct. 10, 2018 – Harahan/River Ridge – 9220 Jefferson Hwy and Upstream St. (Riverside Baptist Church)

Wednesday, Oct. 10 to Friday, Oct. 12, 2018 – Waggaman – River Road and Dandelion St.



LDEQ records for the site are documented in LDEQ’s Electronic Document Management System (EDMS), which can be accessed from this page: via the link at “Proceed to EDMS”.