TCEQ Takes 26th Crack at Solving Stench Mystery in Landfill-Adjacent Shadow Creek Ranch

Shadow Creek Ranch aerial photo, Pearland, TX, 77584

What could be causing the mysterious unpleasant odor Pearland residents have been reporting through TCEQ complaint channels since August of last year — primarily from the Shadow Creek Ranch subdivision (shown above) between 288 and FM 521 south of Clear Creek? TCEQ’s Andrew Keese spoke with the Houston Chronicle recently about the 26 previous and ongoing investigations, which are triggered whenever a finger is pointed at a new possible emitter of the smell. So far, Keese says, no odors have been officially detected that qualify as a ‘nuisance condition’, but he encourages residents to use the TCEQ’s odor log form to help the search effort by describing “the precise character of the odor, [relevant] weather conditions, and times” when the smell is noted.

Before you ask, yes: TCEQ knows about the 60-ft tall mounds of garbage right across FM 521 from the subdivision, at Republic Waste Service’s Blue Ridge Landfill (visible in the bottom left corner of the above photo as a pinkish blob).  Pearland residents previously sought to keep the landfill from more than doubling in acreage and nearly tripling in height (and blocking the operation of several Doppler Radar stations in the process). The landfill (which started accepting garbage several years before Shadow Creek Ranch’s developers broke ground nearby) will eventually get to pile as high as the 170 ft. allowed by its expanded TCEQ permit — but per a 2009 settlement agreement with the city of Pearland it will have to wait until 2021 before rising to only 130 ft., and wait another 8 years after that to reach for its full vertical potential.


Keese says that the odor investigations so far have looked at sources including waste disposal operations, various nearby chemical manufacturing sites, and wastewater facilities, adding that the hunt is complicated by the range and variety of reported smells, which suggest multiple sources.  The organization will continue to literally sniff out the problem, conducting odor surveys and taking air samples for analysis.

Aerial photo: Shadow Creek Ranch


Sniffing Out the Culprits in Pearland

8 Comment

  • I wonder how residents of Pearland feel about recycling?

  • I love how Doppler stations would be blocked by a huge mound of garbage. Can Doppler see around the Williams (Transco) Tower or any of the downtown buildings? If not, maybe we don’t use this “unproven” technology for weather-guessing.
    But, I’m also chortling at the Pearlandians plight that the mountains of garbage is tormenting them so. I hate to say it but the Blue Ridge landfill was there first before Shadow Creek Ranch was a glint in some developer’s eye. I’m willing to be in favor of Republic Waste Systems. Let the trash mountain rise!

  • Someone has got to post the smell descriptions online. I bet that is some funny stuff! “10:32 pm, definitely getting a whiff of bum ass with a hint of Kroger dumpster”

  • Any chance you’d have seepage from the landfill into the ground water table that may be coming back up through the retention ponds?
    Anyhow, Landfill to your left, major freeway to your right and tons of big-box stores / shopping centers / fast food eateries all around. Put it all together and I could easily imagine the car exhaust mixing with the Panda Express & Sams club dumpsters to create some unique smells.

  • Mass hysteria.

  • Im in favor of the landfill…………like Major Market stated “Blue Ridge landfill was there first before Shadow Creek Ranch was a glint in some developer’s eye. I’m willing to be in favor of Republic Waste Systems. Let the trash mountain rise!” i think this should be on the residence that did not do their due diligence before purchasing! I’m tired of people coming in to places and complaining about current/planned conditions and trying to act as a victim to change the situation. I say suck it up or move!

  • I think they should sue the developers for being so grossly negligent in building so close to the dump. Buyers relied on them and Perry Homes specifically damn well should have known the danger. Every since old man Perry died this company has become ruthless. Its continues to build new homes cross FM 521 from the dump.

  • Thomas
    Pearland /Shadow Creek ranch neighbor have reach out to FORT BEND Houston SN41to ask for help with the BFI Landfill. We all have issue with the fowl smell. Please can we get a break from this odor. Itts loud and i cannot get back to sleep. The smell burns yours eyes and make grasp for air. Someone HELP us.