Monthly Archives: December 2015

Residents argue that it’s neighborhood composting facility is like living next to a garbage dump

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In the Richmond section of Vancouver, city officials are demanding more stringent air-quality regulations to control the stink from the region’s composting plant, suggesting the methods of odor management being used are “out of date.”

Harvest Power, which has held a composting facility license since 1997 and collects 200,000 tonnes of Metro Vancouver’s food scraps each year, has been the focus of more than 270 odor complaints in the past 2 1/2 years.

A Richmond staff report suggests that while Harvest Power is “of critical importance to meeting the city’s zero waste goals,” the city is worried about its ability to manage the odors.

The company is now facing more backlash as it seeks an air-quality permit from Metro Vancouver to increase its “authorized emissions” after significantly exceeding projected air-quality and odor emissions — in some cases 11 times higher for certain compounds.

Officials maintain the odors themselves aren’t necessarily considered a health risk, although depending on what’s in the compost, the smells could cause physical distress, as well as headaches or nausea, and detract from the quality of life for those suffering from it.

The Richmond staff report maintains the current requirements for emissions, are “insufficient,” and argues Harvest Power has not carefully considered all technology options, nor included new odor-management measures in the permit application.

As the number of composting facilities increases across the region, there will need to be a more substantial approach to odor management, and clear definitions of what constitutes “pollution,” to alleviate community concerns or noticeable odors will continue unabated from these facilities.”

The story in its entirety can be found here:

http://www.vancouversun.com/health/Region+composting+plant+faces+backlash+foul+Odour+emissions+affect+residents+living+from+facility/11600386/story.html

Brooklyn residents hope to shut down waste transfer station, claim odors and fumes are sickening

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Garbage is an irrefutable fact of life in New York City. It’s the first thing newcomers notice and the last thing they see when they leave the city: trash is seemingly everywhere but perhaps more concentrated in just a few areas.

Bushwick residents who live around a busy waste transfer station on Thames St. owned and operated by 5-Star Carting are on a mission to get the facility shut down — claiming safety issues, compliancy issues and health risks. Residents complain that not only are the noxious odors and fumes enough to make people sick the chemical spray 5-Star has started pumping out to mask the odors carry additional health warnings.

A study released this year by the Transform Don’t Trash coalition– which brings together the NYC-EJA, ALIGN (a workers advocacy organization), New York Lawyers for the Public Interest, and the New York City Teamsters labor council– found that this “clustering” of waste transfer facilities results in a system in which “regardless of where waste is generated in the city it is trucked to [these facilities that are] primarily concentrated in three overburdened communities.” This not only increases the inefficiency of the system as a whole, but also puts nearby residents’ safety and health at risk from heavy truck traffic and poor air quality.

Bushwick is one of these overburdened communities. Before being transported to incinerators, 40 percent of the city’s trash ends up at transfer stations in North Brooklyn.

While the problem of trash distribution has been developing over the last 30 years, the chaotic, truck-intensive commercial waste system is not just problematic from a climate perspective – it also harms New Yorkers on a day-to-day basis and squanders important economic development opportunities.

Many Bushwick residents believe that if the transfer stations was moved for just one week and placed next to the Armory in Manhattan, a million people would protest and that dump would likely be closed in a day.

In addition to the noticeable aroma there are also many health concerns as the fumes from the high number of trucks and pollution from chemicals used at the facility waft in the air. Diesel fumes are known to exacerbate asthma symptoms and studies show that Bushwick has one of the highest asthma rates in the city.

Council Member Antonio Reynoso, who is also Chair of the City Council’s Sanitation Committee continues to put pressure on the de Blasio administration to consider redistributing these waste transfer facilities but notes that getting other neighborhoods to take on a greater share of the city’s waste is not easy to do in the city of New York for a very simple reason– nobody wants trash in their neighborhood.

The Bushwick residents are hoping the city will refuse to do business with 5-Star Carting if its not following city laws about protecting the community. The Mayor has pledged to make trash collection and recycling in the city more efficient and more sustainable, we will see if this applies to the residents in Bushwick.

More on this story can be found here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/brooklyn/exclusive-article-1.2452182