Get a whiff of this Associated Press story about Jane Kangas, described as having has the “most valuable nostrils in North Dakota.”
The environmental scientist’s state-certified nose gives her the ability to decipher whether a landfill is meeting standards for odor control — needing just a whiff or two to determine whether it has reached peak reek. Her verification: a device that records the level of odor.
The device is called the “Nasal Ranger,” which resembles a radar gun with a breathing mask attached. It can be used to detect the odor of everything from rotting garbage and methane to pot smoke. It was designed by an environmental engineer who trains odor inspectors to definitively identify sources of nasty smells.
While just about anyone with a nose can tell you how bad Keystone Sanitary Landfill stinks on summer days, actual documentation has been spotty at best. The state Department of Environmental Protection should investigate employing the technology here. Opponents of a proposed near-50-year expansion of the landfill in Dunmore and Throop should give the state a firm push in that direction.
If DEP balks, Friends of Lackawanna — a citizens’ group that has achieved remarkable progress in heading off the expansion — should look into acquiring a Nasal Ranger and the training to make its own olfactory case.