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Where Do the Dead Fish Go? A Giant Dump

You’ve seen — and probably smelled — the dead fish.

“Unfortunately it’s just really, really, strenuous this year,” Jay Standiford said, a landfill operations supervisor with Collier County.

Cleanups have been happening across every beach in Southwest Florida. But have you ever wondered where they end up after they’re off the beach?

“That material that washes up on the beach,” Jay said, “you have to get rid of it.”

In Collier County, they’re driven to the landfill and put in a big hole. Almost seven tons of dead fish are in there. Not even including the dumpsters available for people to get rid of red tide fish .

“6.8 tons is a significant amount of fish coming into the faculty yes,” Jay said. “But at this point we have no other option, but you have to put [it] into the landfill.”

Jay took Hello SWFL on a road trip to see where the fish are dumped out. He walked us through the process.

“They dump the fish in and they cover it up with soil,” he said. “Then, at the end of the week, they’ll put more soil on top to prevent more soils from happening.”

And for a landfill, surprisingly, there wasn’t a smell.

They use something called, “daily cover.” Daily cover is a mixture of 50 percent soil, compost, and yard trash.

“It is very odorous,” Jay said, “and that’s the point of the soil with this faculty because it prevents odors from migrating offsite.”

It’s a simple process that requires a lot of work. These brave government workers are a main reason that the smell isn’t an issue for you at home.

“We don’t get odors and the residents aren’t complaining about it,” Standiford said.

RELATED: Red Tide: Is It Safe to Eat Seafood?

Additional reporting by Terrace Myles