ADAMS -- A lingering problem on Myrtle Street continues to upset many tenants of Greylock Apartments.
At the housing complex abutting Big Y's property on Dean Street particularly, tenants are having to alter their daily patterns to escape a rancid odor that regularly emanates from the supermarket's Dumpster.
"There's a lot of people in this complex," Cathy Snow, a tenant, said Friday. "They try to sit outside and enjoy the sunshine but the unbearable smell [forces them back inside]. Some get very sick and can't open windows or turn on their air conditioners because the smell comes in."
Greylock Apartments owner Donald Sommer says a change in the supermarket's garbage disposal practice last year resulted in the Dumpster being emptied less frequently -- only once every two weeks, he said.
"There's been no problems [between the neighboring businesses] in 38 years, but I've got tenants now actively looking for another apartment," Sommer said Friday. "... It's not fair to me or my tenants."
In recent months, Sommer has repeatedly attempted to contact Big Y's corporate headquarters to ask for a change but has received little response, he said.
The town Board of Health addressed the issue in two meetings earlier this month, after logging more and more complaints from residents about the odor this summer.
The first meeting resulted in the board threatening to fine Big Y $50 for each new confirmed complaint,
However, board member Roy Thompson said he's visited the site at times when the odor was "ripe."
"It's not a dead issue," Thompson said Friday. "We have to monitor it because it's going to come and go with the heat and the changing of the compactor."
Sommer and the tenants are still seeking resolution. Problems have persisted throughout this week.
"All morning, when I got home, it was terrible," Snow said Friday.
Kathy Raney, a second tenant of the complex, added, "This year I can't enjoy [the outside area]. Sometimes, I can't even eat. I like it here and I don't want to move, but something has to be done."
Local managers at Big Y in Adams deferred comment to the supermarket's corporate headquarters in Springfield, but attempts to reach store representatives for comment Friday yielded no response.
With some tenants now looking to move and others having recently reached out to state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi, D-North Adams, for assistance, the issue promises to attract more attention in the coming weeks.