The Point Economic Development Corporation hosted a community forum on Thursday, April 29 with representatives of a company that operates a 24-hour bilingual hot line to monitor odors within a one-mile radius of the New York Organic Fertilizer Plant in Hunts Point.
Employees of the independent consulting company TRC were on hand to take questions from members of the community and several grass roots organizations that put pressure on the state’s Department of Environmental Conservation to begin an Odor Motoring System. TRC will operate out of The Banknote Building and has set up a 24-hour hot line activated on Thursday, May 6.
Anyone living within a one-mile radius of the NYOFCo fertilizer plant at 1108 Oak Point Avenue may call 1-800-679-6676 to report odors they believe to be originating from the plant. An answering service will take the call, and the callers will be asked to describe the odor and its location.
“The New York Organic Fertilizer Company has established an Odor Monitoring System (OMS) in cooperation with DEC, based in part on requests from the community for an independent monitoring system,” said Joseph Page, the company spokesman for NYOFCo. “This system was put in place to investigate complaints of odors believed to be related to the NYOFCo facility.The OMS, which goes into effect on May 6, will be operated by an independent firm, TRC, under the direction of a professional engineer approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation.The OMS reflects the company’s continuing efforts to work with the community and regulatory authorities to address any potential facility impacts on the community and to further our commitment to be a good neighbor.”
There will be a team of six professional OMS investigators that will respond to complaints at the exact location reported within 30 minutes and determine the source of the odor. The investigator will record the character and intensity of the smell and will immediately report any NYOFCo-related odors to NYOFCo. Within one day after the investigation, a report will be generated which will be made available upon request to the person making the call. All of this has been mandated under NYOFCo’s most recent operating license with the NYSDEC.
The Odor Monitoring System will track and produce reports from all complaints it receives for the next year. However, the city’s Department of Environmental Protection announced his plans to discontinue the City’s contract with NYOFCo later this year. In addition, non-profits and community groups that have filed a lawsuit to have the plant shuttered on the premise that it is harming the health of people nearby. Groups like Mothers on the Move, The Point CDC, For a Better Bronx, and Sustainable South Bronx viewed the DEP’s stance on the future of the plant as a victory, even though it has not been finalized.
“The city has taken an important first step to ending odors caused by NYOFCo in our community,” said Certia Parker, a member of Mothers on the Move. “Regardless of what happens, we intend to continue our litigation against NYOFCo to ensure that the community is freed of those long-standing odors.”
©2010 Community News Group