Ringgold residents are concerned about the smell and debris from nearby landfill

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RINGGOLD, Va. (WDBJ) - If you drive past Evangel Assembly of God on Cedar Road in Ringgold, its hard to spot anything wrong. Step outside your car, and its an entirely different situation.

"They've [parishioners] jokingly called it the smelly church," said senior pastor Ben Forrest.

An industrial landfill owned by First Piedmont, has been behind the church since the church was established. But according to Ben Forrest, things like the smell and the sight have been steadily getting worse since 2014.

"There has to be some kind of relationship where we can say the stuff that's on your property is causing really big issues on our property," said Forrest.

"We try not to be a bad neighbor, but there are things you just can't help like the odors and stuff," said Tom Wade, First Piedmont's landfill manager.

Wade admitted there is a stench from some of the waste, but since its industrial, it is not required to be covered.

"Its been tested that its also just a nuisance smell," said Wade.

But that hasn't made anything better for neighbors like Will Gunnell.

"Phew I just caught a good whiff."

He said the smell and even debris travel as far as a mile away.

"To me its not being taken care of the way its supposed to be," said Gunnell.

Wade assures that's not the case, he says every quarter the 124 permitted acres of the landfill are inspected by the Department of Environmental Quality.

Wade added the section that's wreaking the most amount of havoc for Forrest and Gunnell is in the process of being capped off. Which means hopefully by summer the church's playground may be used again.

"Be patient, we're covering it up, its a long process it can't happen overnight," said Wade.