NY to Amend Permit of Odorous Sludge Pellet Facility

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Feb. 3 took the second of three steps as part of its program to tighten controls on odor-generating processes at the sewage sludge pelletization plant owned by New York Organic Fertilizer Company, located at Hunts Point in the Bronx.

DEC issued a notice and invitation for public comments on a proposed amended air pollution permit. The company will have the opportunity to agree to these new provisions or to challenge them in an administrative proceeding.

"This administration places a high priority on promoting environmental justice to protect over-burdened communities from environmental harm," said DEC Regional Director Suzanne Mattei. "This plant has been the subject of repeated odor complaints, and we are taking steps we view as necessary to address the problem."

Under the proposed permit, Mattei explained, the company would have to meet many new standards, including, but not limited to, new mandates to:

  • institute new stack testing for total reduced sulfur, reduced sulfur compounds, fine particulates (PM-10), and odor;
  • expand the role of the independent odor response monitor to be available 24 hours per day, seven days per week, with the ability to produce reports in both English and Spanish;
  • continuously monitor the odor control chemical scrubber to verify compliance with new standards for oxidation-reduction potential and pH; and
  • meet performance control standards for pollution control equipment.

The final step, Mattei noted, will be a proposed modification to the facility's solid waste permit to require more specific odor monitoring and control measures that the company has not implemented on a voluntary basis.

"These new initiatives will modernize operations and oversight at this facility," Mattei said.

The proposed changes for this air permit were developed as a result of extended discussions with members of the community and with the company, and members of the public will have 30 days to comment on the draft permit.