A "sniff squad" of trained noses is being called in to root out Northampton's landfill odors.

The city has hired specially trained stink-sniffers to help determine whether the dump is too pungent for neighboring homeowners to stand.

Northampton officials signed a $25,000 contract with an Agawam environmental company after state officials ordered independent testing of landfill odors.

Using little more than their own noses, the super sniffers are trained to detect and rate the strength of rotting trash, landfill gases and other unpleasantries.

Rating on a 1 to 8 scale — roughly, from bearable to foul beyond belief — the sniffers also judge the smells against a kit they carry of ready-to-sniff odors of various intensities.

The city could be fined or ordered to make changes if the landfill flunks the smell test.