LTE: CLEANAIR4ORANGETOWN RESPONDS TO ALUF VP
LETTER TO THE EDTOR
Clean Air for Orangetown (CA4O) would like to respond to the December 5, 2016 letter to the editor (LTE) from David Anderson, Vice President of Operations of Aluf Plastics which was published in The Rockland Post.
The noxious emissions from Aluf are not a new issue for local residents. CA4O has obtained volumes of information on Aluf’s troubled history in Orangetown, NY (1986- present) through the Freedom of Information Law (FOIL). These documents tell the story of a private company which demonstrates disturbing patterns of behavior and shows little regard for regulatory agencies and for the community in which it operates.
On December 13, 2016 at the Town of Orangetown Town Board meeting, the council members voted on important resolutions related to Aluf: to approve an ambient air quality testing contract with Langan Engineering, Environmental, Surveying and Landscaping Architecture D.P.C. and to file action in Supreme Court Rockland County, against Aluf Plastics seeking injunctive relief.
Mr. Anderson has described local community members as “misinformed.” We would like to set the record straight. CA4O is a grassroots group which was formed to gather and share information. We are community members committed to protecting the quality of life in Orangetown. We bear witness to the environmental pollution which is occurring in our community and we are motivated by our research. We are committed to reengaging the many community members who have become disillusioned by their years of complaints which have been ignored.
This is a preliminary study of Aluf’s history in Orangetown, NY (1986-present) which is documented in government files.
AIR PROBLEMS AROUND ALUF, 2006 – present
“Manufacturing here for thirty years, Aluf Plastics has always been committed to being a good corporate citizen.” – David Anderson, Vice President of Operations, Aluf Plastics, Inc.
When Aluf opened in 1986, the factory operated with seven extruders and eight bag machines. By February, 2006, Aluf had expanded to operate 44 extruders and 35 bag machines according the Town of Orangetown records. The Rockland County Department of Health (RCDOH) documented multiple problems with odors and emissions around this time. Gregory Price, RCDOH Public Health Engineer continued to investigate Aluf for many problems until 2013 when he left his position due to serious illness. On April 23, 2014, Article XII (Air Pollution Control) was rescinded from the RCDOH Sanitary Code. Mr. Price’s position was never replaced.
In 2006, after the factory had expanded to utilize 44 extruders and 35 bag machines, the RCDOH required Aluf to perform stack testing at the factory. In an email memo dated August 4, 2006, Patrick Dunn from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) wrote to Gregory Price at the RCDOH:
“Stack testing [is being] performed to determine emissions concentrations associated with recycle operations. Facility has recently installed equipment to try and mitigate emissions in response to complaints from nearby receptors. Mr. Gregory Price of Rockland County Health Department was present as part of ongoing efforts by the county to help Aluf achieve/maintain regulatory compliance….”
On July 27, 2006, stack testing was performed by Gammie Air Monitoring, the firm which Aluf had hired for this project. The regulators found many problems with these tests. In his August 4, 2006 email to Mr. Price, Mr. Dunn observes:
“Some potential problems were observed during testing…. Apparent breakthrough of pre-filter….. Open ductwork on extruder lines….. Continuous poor capture of emissions at hood…. Continuous opacity in excess of 20% from final emission point…. Modification of particulate sampling method at inlet sampling port…. One of the four associated processing lines was offline during testing…. In consideration of the various irregularities that occurred during testing, including process and control equipment performance that is not representative of normal plant operation, sampling performed at Aluf on 7/27/06 does not meet criteria required to be accepted for compliance determination purposes.”
On September 27, September 29, October 3 and October 5, 2006, Aluf is cited as being in violation of Rockland County Sanitary Code article XII.
“Aluf Plastics allowed a process exhaust to emit air contaminants with an opacity greater than twenty percent.”
Gregory Price from the RCDOH attempted to require additional stack testing from the facility for several years, but no records of any such testing exist.
ODOR PROBLEMS CONTINUE AS ALUF EXPANDS FURTHER
By 2011, the factory had expanded to contain at least 64 plastic bag extruders. The problems with odors were intensifying.
In January of 2011, Gregory Price writes to Mr. Gabriel Kahana at Aluf Plastics.
“As you know a procedure has been established for investigating odor complaints emanating around the vicinity of Aluf Plastics. In the last two days we have received and investigated complaints of burning plastic odors. Two separate days (January 5,2011 and January 6, 2011) odors were documented offsite during the department’s investigation and both of these incidents are considered in violations of 12.5.8…..”
In September, 2011, Gregory Price details a list of technical information which must be provided to the RCDOH related to their ongoing violations of Article XII of the Rockland County Sanitary Code. He addresses the letter to Susan Rosenberg, owner of Aluf Plastics:
“As per our July 28, 2011 meeting, numerous subsequent conversations and Mr. Brenner’s contention that no one knew what information I was looking for, please allow me to be as specific as possible. This list may not be all-inclusive….”
A detailed list of technical requirements is included. Mr. Price continues:
“It should be noted that since May 1, 2011 there have been at least 13 complaints with the description of ‘burning plastic.’ At this time I have run out of options, if progress is not forth coming an Administrative Formal Hearing process will be initiated. There are currently seven documented violations with a maximum penalty of one thousand dollars per violation. We unfortunately will enter the legal arena to resolve an engineering problem.”
The RCDOH eventually requested that substantial changes be made to the facility in order to address the problems at the facility. A letter dated July 18, 2012 from HRP Associates, Inc. to the Town of Orangetown Architecture and Community Appearance Board of Review (ACABOR) reads:
“HRP Associates, Inc. (HRP) on behalf of Aluf Plastics Industries (API) is submitting this letter to discuss the stack height as requested by the Town of Orangetown ACABOR. The RCDOH has requested that API redesign their process ventilation stacks, which currently ventilate through the side walls of the building.
The RCDOH requested that the new stacks be designed to emit the process exhaust through the roof of the building. Therefore, the facility is proposing three new stacks, which are all designed to be at least 25 feet (30 feet with rain shield) above the roof line to ensure proper ventilation of the facility’s operations to meet Health Department requirements.”
A NEW AIR PERMIT AND PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE FACTORY
On January 29, 2013, Aluf Plastics (API Industries) was issued a non-expiring NYSDEC Air State Facility Permit. The permit refers to an older registration from 2005, at which point the factory likely utilized approximately 30 extruders. The factory started in 1986 with 7 extruders and 8 bag lines, but within months were using “approximately 11 extruders” in addition to the bag lines. The ZBA minutes from Aluf’s Performance Standards in October, 2000 indicate that Aluf was operating 30 extruders and 19 bag machines. The minutes note that “on review of the Resume of Operations and Equipment submitted by applicant, it became apparent that extruders had been added which were not subject to Performance Standards review.” This is one of several examples in the Town file indicating that Aluf is in the habit of adding equipment first and asking for permission retroactively. There is also evidence that this happened as recently as 2016.
The 2013 NYSDEC permit states:
“This facility was previously permitted as a registration issued November 14, 2005. Changes facilitating a State facility permit include enhancement to the in-line particulate removal systems, the addition of carbon absorption as control to the extrusion process emissions as well as reconfiguration to associated emission point location and stack heights. Aluf Plastics shall complete the necessary changes by May 31, 2013.”
There is no evidence in the Town of Orangetown files that these required changes ever took place. All that remains is an open building permit. No contractor or insurance information is included in the file and the permit was never closed. No documention of this work is available in the NYSDEC file either.
CA4O remains very concerned with the odors and opacity of emissions from Aluf Plastics. Multiple members of our community have observed emissions from the factory which may be in violation of opacity regulations.
DOCUMENTED GROUND CONTAMINATION AT ALUF PLASTICS
Ground contamination has also been a significant problem at this facility for many years. There are many documented spills which have occurred on the Aluf premises. Aluf sits on protected groundwater and near tributaries which lead to the Sparkill Creek. As recently as December, 2016, a CA4O member reported a spill of polyethylene pellets into a storm drain on the Aluf property. The incident was reported to the spill department at the NYSDEC, although the member was later told that no official NYSDEC inspection occurred. Aluf was contacted by the NYSDEC and Aluf representatives told officials that they did not find any issue. Our group has photos to document this spill from December, 2016, which has since been cleaned up by Aluf. In studying Aluf’s records, a passage from 1990 resonates. The RCDOH noted that “the [Aluf] site was unkempt and littered with polypropylene pellets which were washing into the stream.” In an environmental analysis necessary for Aluf’s refinancing in 2009, it was documented that “polyethylene bead debris was noted in the first approximately 4-6 inches of soil.”
SOIL CONTAMINATION: 1988-1993
In the “Supplemental Investigation of the Former Materials Research Corporation Site” which was prepared by Leggette, Brashears and Graham (2011), there are several pages devoted to investigating other companies in this area of Orangeburg. The most extensive and troubling findings center on the site of Aluf Plastics, and specifically the findings between 1989 and 1992. Below are a few short excerpts from this thorough retrospective study:
“…The former Glenshaw Glass Company/Arglass Corporation was taken over by Aluf Plastics. Numerous complaints were lodged against this company for unauthorized releases to the environment and other offenses.
An interdepartmental memo by Leonard C Post, Deputy Building Inspector for the Town of Orangetown, dated July 17, 1990, indicated that Aluf Plastics received over 25 summonses for fire code and building code violations between September 1989 and July 1990. In May, 1990, they were fined $2,500 for dumping ink/hazardous waste into a spillway behind their site building. Leonard Post had the Orangetown Sewer Department test their sanitary waste on May 30, 1990. The results were in violation and were sent to the RCDOH. Carl Dornbush of the RCDOH informed Leonard Post that RCDOH and the NYSDEC had cited them on July 1, 1990 for dumping “objectionable waste into the Sparkill Creek and that they were subject to a $25,000 fine…. The author of the memo was “appalled” by the apparent disregard of Aluf Plastics for the environment, town and state laws and ordinances, public safety and the welfare of their employees and the Town of Orangetown.
A police incident report dated July 1, 1990 indicated that a neighbor of Aluf Plastics reported that the company was discharging a black substance into Sparkill Creek. The police responded and found a moderate but steady flow of a grayish-black substance emanating from a pipe in an embankment located behind Aluf Plastics approximately 0.15 mile south of Glenshaw Street. Once employees of the plant observed the police officers, the discharge stopped….
A deposition by Carl Dornbush dated July 30, 1990 indicated that he collected a dip sample from the pipe (which was no longer discharging) before he left the Aluf Plastics site on July 1, 1990. He returned to the site on July 2, 1990 with Brian Hunderfund and Bernard Van Hook of the RCDOH and took pictures of the discharge pipe. On July 13, Carl Dornbush and Brian Hunderfund re-inspected the site and observed grey liquid which smelled like sewage discharging from a pipe directly to the east of Aluf Plastics. A second larger pipe was observed to the south of the first pipe. A slightly cloudy liquid was observed to be trickling out of this pipe. One sample was collected from each pipe. The men conducted dye tests which proved that the discharges were coming from Aluf Plastics. The results of the samples collected on July 13, 1990 are summarized….”
The substances documented in the study of Aluf’s discharge include:
The report continues:
“The results of the samples confirmed that the materials in the stream were being discharged from the sump in the basement of Aluf Plastics.
A hand-written note on RCDOH letterhead dated January 22, 1992 from C.Quinn to Cesare Manfredi indicated that the inspection report for Aluf Plastics for the previous day had been forwarded to Todd Ghiosay. The author stated that since the discharge from Aluf Plastics was witnessed, he hoped that this would result in significant enforcement action. He indicated that the RCDOH had a significant file on prior problems with Aluf Plastics that were being worked on by the State Attorney’s office and the attorney for Aluf Plastics.… Cesare Manfredi claimed that “this has happened too many times with no consequences….”
An unsigned RCDOH phone sheet dated January 8, 1993 documented a phone conversation with Tom Moran of the NYSDEC. Legal action against Aluf Plastics was discussed during the conversation. Specifically, it was indicated that attempts to settle the case were expected to be unsuccessful and that criminal felony charges were likely. A consent order was being put together and fines were being assessed…. An unsigned (and therefore undated except for the year, 1993) stipulation between the Rockland County Department of Health and Aluf Plastics charged the latter with permitting offensive discharges to Sparkill Creek on five separate occasions between July 1, 1990 and January 21, 1992.’
ADDITIONAL SPILLS AT 2 GLENSHAW STREET
There have been several spills documented at 2 Glenshaw Street since the early 1990’s. In 2009, an Environmental Site Assessment of NYSDEC Spill #0906197 at 2 Glenshaw Street was prepared by HRP Associates, Inc., the same firm which Aluf retained to perform an environmental assessment in fall, 2016. The 2009 study was completed in order for refinancing at Aluf. Excerpts from this assessment are found below:
“On June 25, 2009 HRP Associates, Inc. completed a Phase I Environmental Site Assessment of 2 Glenshaw Street in Orangeburg, New York. HRP identified a Recognized Environmental Condition (REC) at the subject property.
Visible staining was observed on the ground adjacent to a rail spur loading dock on the east side of the building….
July 8, 2009: Subsurface Investigation…. Based on visual inspections, an approximately 9 foot by 14 foot triangular footprint was excavated to varying depths. The excavation followed visible contaminated soil…. Ink stained soils and the excavation ended approximately three feets bgs directly adjacent to the concrete loading dock and tapered to two to three inches bgs at the points furthest from the concrete loading dock edge. Polyethylene bead debris was noted in the first approximately 4-6 inches of soil….”
Analytical Results… East Wall of Excavation…. Concentrations of PAHs benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, chrysene, diben(a,h)anthracene, and indeno(1,2,3-cd)pyrene were detected in this sample above TAGM 4046 recommended soil cleanup objective (RSCOs). Part 375 Industrial SCO values was exceeded for Benzo(a)pyrene… and Dibenz(a,h)anthracene….
South Wall of Excavation…. Concentrations of PAHs benzo(a)anthracene, benzo(a)pyrene, benzo(b)fluoranthene, benzo(k)fluoranthene, chrysene and diben(a,h)anthracene, were detected in this sample at levels above TAGM 4046 RSCOs….”
As of December, 2016, CA4O is not aware of any plans to test the soil at Aluf, although we have advocated for stack, soil and groundwater testing to take place because of the factory’s proximity to many private residences, schools and the vast amount of protected groundwater which leads to the Sparkill Creek.
NYSDEC AND TOWN OF ORANGETOWN VIOLATIONS
“Air management systems are maintained and records are kept as required.”
-David Anderson, Vice President of Operations, Aluf Plastics, Inc.
Since May of 2016, ALUF Plastics has been cited four times by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYSDEC) as being in violation of New York State Air Pollution Control Law, Article 19 of the Environmental Conservation Law, noting that:
“This Violation Notice is due to heated-plastic-odors as well as due to lapse of maintaining equipment. A previous Warning Notice was given for poor record keeping. Observations: Heated plastic odors were very noticeable on ALUF’s property near the carbon bed enclosure. A direct visual inspection of the duct work that brings the odorous indoor process air to the carbon bed filter revealed that there were holes in the ducts in at least two different locations which allowed untreated air to escape into the ambient air prior to passing through the odor removal treatment devise. The integrity of the duct work entering the carbon bed looked very poor. There were numerous areas sealed with aluminum tape and areas with holes where emissions (and what appeared to be melted plastic which had solidified) were exiting.” (May 9, 2016)
“Untreated air is escaping to the atmosphere from the duct work at least two locations. Odors of melted plastic were evident at the site’s property as far East as Route 303 during the visit.” (May 25, 2016)
“Strong odors were interchanging between burning plastic and sweat VOCs solvent on the East of the Railroad tracks. Odors consistent with burning plastic were sensed at the West side of ALUF by Murphy Court area. An incident of process upset appeared to have occurred inside the production area of the facility. No explanation was provided by ALUF to NYSDEC of the odor events of June 2, 2016.” (June 2, 2016)
“Odors were evident and ranged from mild to strong around Hayes Street and Arthur Street in Blauvelt. These odors were ALUF type odors consistent with melted and/or burned plastic mixed with fragrance. The duration of the odor was at least one and a half hours that I stayed in the area. However, I received complaints at later times, as late as 7:00 pm.” (August 25, 2016)
On September 21, 2016, Aluf appeared in front of The Town of Orangetown Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) for a Performance Standards application requesting “approval of seven plastic extrusion units and three automated bag lines.” During the meeting, Aluf representatives confirmed that the factory was already using the equipment which they were seeking approval for according to the application.
In a memorandum to the ZBA members dated September 21, 2016, John Giardiello, Director of the Office of Town of Orangetown Building, Zoning and Planning Administration and Enforcement (OBZPAE) stated:
“On March 25, 2016, the NYSDEC and I met with Aluf Plastics representatives to discuss the odor complaints associated with their facility. On April 25, 2016, May 20, 2016 and June 27, 2016 I sent letters to Aluf Plastics regarding the odor complaints received. As part of my May 20, 2016 letter, second paragraph, I request Aluf Plastics return to the ZBA for Performance Standards Review of their cumulative operations. This was requested after a review of their past submissions for Performance Standards Review revealed only the additional new equipment was reviewed each time and the cumulative operations were not addressed. On July 18, 2016 I issued an Accusatory Instrument for Orangetown Justice Court regarding odors being emitted from the building…. Before you approve any new equipment the applicant should adequately address the current emissions.”
The ZBA did not issue a decision and approved a motion to continue the deliberation in November, 2016.
In a letter to the ZBA dated November 15, 2016 regarding the upcoming Performance Standards review, Joseph Moran, Commissioner of the Department of Environmental Management and Engineering (DEME) of the Town of Orangetown writes:
“There is no information provided regarding item #8 – production equipment, item #13 – proposed odor control system and item #14 – the floor plan that was submitted does not have a legend or labeling that clearly depicts the locations of chimneys, exhaust vent openings and the equipment they serve as well as unvented operations that might release any air pollution to the outside atmosphere through open windows and floors. Additionally, there is no secondary safeguard system for the emission of odors as specifically required in Article 4.182.”
On November 16, 2016, Aluf Plastics appeared before the ZBA for a “Cumulative Performance Standards Review.” In their Full Environmental Assessment form, Aluf writes:
“Seven (7) new extrusion units and three (3) new automated bag lines have individually been added to the Aluf facility with Performance Standards updated. The Town of Orangetown is now requesting a new updated Performance Standards be obtained which accounts for the accumulative loads/effects of the previously approved manufacturing lines.”
The ZBA denied Aluf’s Performance Standards on November 16, 2016. The final page of the minutes from the November 16, 2016 ZBA meeting, during which Aluf’s application was denied, states:
“The foregoing resolution to DENY this application based upon the November 14, 2016 report of Joseph Moran, P.E., Commissioner of Orangetown Department of Environmental Management and Engineering, and the November 16, 2016 Memorandum of John Giardiello, P.E., Director of the Orangetown Office of Building, Zoning and Planning Administration and Enforcement (OBZPAE) which state that the Application does not conform to the Performance Standards of § 4.1 of the Orangetown Zoning Code; and to request that OBZPAE issue all appropriate Code violations against; (i) the operator of the business at 2 Glenshaw Street, and/or (ii) the officers and/or principals of the business at 2 Glenshaw Street, and/or (iii) the owner of the property at 2 Glenshaw Street, and that OBZPAE issue all appropriate Code violations as OBZPAE deems fit; was moved by Chairman Sullivan, and seconded by Mr. Bosco and carried as follows: Ms. Salomon, aye; Mr. Feroldi, aye; Mr. Quinn, aye; Mr. Bosco, aye; and Mr. Sullivan, aye; Ms. Castelli did not vote because she was not present for the entire hearing.”
“THE LARGEST MANUFACTURER IN OUR NEIGHBORHOOD”
“Aluf is also the largest manufacturer in our neighborhood and perhaps this is why Aluf is the target of odor complaints.”
-David Anderson, Vice President of Operations, Aluf Plastics, Inc.
Aluf has acknowledged that they are “one of the largest recyclers in New York State” and that they recycle 50 million pounds of plastic per year. They also reclaim and recycle 8 million pounds of corrugate per year.
According to Plastics News, Aluf is ranked the second largest sheet and film plastic manufacturer in New York State. Aluf operates under a non-expiring State Air facility permit which was issued to Aluf by the NYSDEC in 2013. Other top ranked sheet and film manufacturers in New York State (Trinity Packaging Corp, GenPak And Poly-Pak Industries) have all been issued Title V Air Permit by the NYSDEC, which strictly regulates major manufactures emitting large amounts of volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) and hazardous air pollutants (HAP’s).
ANALYSIS OF RECENT ODOR COMPLAINTS
“On many occasions complaints of odors in the community have been logged on days when our facility has been closed.”
-David Anderson, Vice President of Operations, Aluf Plastics, Inc.
CA4O has record of over 325 complaints of noxious odors from Aluf Plastics since May, 2016 which we have analyzed. Complaints have continued to pour in since the November 16, 2016 ZBA Performance Standards denial, including several on Thanksgiving Day, November 24, 2016.
The following complaints were the only ones which occurred at times when the factory was allegedly closed:
• There are two reports of burning plastic on a morning when the factory was allegedly closed for a Jewish holiday.
• On another date, there were two complaints describing an Aluf odor on a day when the factory was closed. One of these complaints specifically noted that the factory was closed, but that there was a lingering residual “plastic” odor in the air. NYSDEC officials have stated that residual odors as well as odors from deliveries are possible during hours when the facility is not operating.
• There was a complaint from a Saturday morning when Aluf was closed, describing a “foul burning” odor. A CA4O member who lives near Aluf described a strange smell that morning but did not submit an odor report related to Aluf. This CA4O member did not believe the smell was from Aluf. Another complaint from that same morning was officially submitted reporting a strong odor of “sewage and waste” in the area. These were the only two complaints we have seen describing a “foul” or “waste” odor.
Over 99% of the complaints since May, 2016 were specifically related to Aluf-type odors and were submitted when Aluf was operating. The complaints describe the odors using words such as “burning plastic,” “perfumed plastic,” “chemical smell,” “burning floral chemical” and “melting plastic.” Physical symptoms such as burning in the throat, lungs and other respiratory problems are described in many of the complaints. Many express concern about the proximity of the factory to the local schools and possible adverse health effects for area school children and residents. Many complaints mention that they were unable to stay outdoors during the times of these noxious odor emissions. Complaints stated that residents were forced to keep their windows closed due to these offensive odors.
WORK RELATED INJURIES AT ALUF PLASTICS
“Aluf also contributes to the community by providing full-time jobs for more than 400 employees…. All of whose health and safety we guard thoughtfully.”
-David Anderson, Vice President of Operations, Aluf Plastics, Inc.
Through an investigation of all police activity at Aluf Plastics during the past five years, CA4O has discovered a large number of injuries which have taken place at their factory. Some of the injuries in the police files include a severed finger (tip not recovered), several lacerations to hands and arms, head and neck injuries from falling debris, fuel leaks, several fires and explosions, burns, employees experiencing difficulty breathing and disorientation, several accounts of fingers and hands caught in machinery and a head injury from falling from a 10-foot-high catwalk.
As recently as last week, Aluf appeared in Town of Orangetown Judicial Court due to numerous fire code violations.
Interestingly, CA4O has not been contacted by any former or current employees who express their support for the company. We have, however, been contacted by several people who have worked at the facility in the past and expressed their concern for the well-being of the workers in this factory.
A HISTORY OF DELAYING ACTION
“Accusations that Aluf has done little to address our issues and has “dragged its feet” are simply untrue and are made by either misinformed individuals or those wishing to cause harm to one of Rockland County’s largest private employers.”
-David Anderson, Vice President of Operations, Aluf Plastics, Inc.
Study of Aluf’s file indicates that the company shows troubling patterns of behavior. The following correspondence from 2007 demonstrates the way in which Aluf has “dragged its feet” with regards to regulation and oversight. The stack testing which RCDOH attempted to require is described in the following exchange, but has not taken place to this date.
In a letter to Gabriel Kahana of Aluf Plastics dated July 30, 2007, Gregory Price of the RCDOH writes:
“Please allow me to remind you that Aluf Plastics agreed to have new control equipment stack tested by September 30, 2007. Also, your stipulation was that a stack test protocol would be submitted to the County and NYSDEC forty five days in advance for approval. I am going to require stack testing for total and free cyanide as well as other previously tested contaminants.
This office will not grant any time frame extensions. I will consider lack of adherence to the time frame a violation of the agreed stipulation with the possible violations on a per day basis.”
In another letter to Mr. Kahana dated September 21, 2007, Mr. Price writes:
“On September 10, 2007, I had a discussion with Mr. Brenner about the timeline for installation and operation of new process control equipment. While I realize this is a complex problem, it is extremely troublesome that Aluf is not yet near compliance with the agreed upon stipulation that was signed on November 17, 2006.
At the time of the stipulation, we did not agree on a completion date. As almost a year has gone by, and not enough progress has been made towards compliance, I now require a completion date, along with a date the stack test will be performed. Please contact my office by October 5, 2007.”
In a letter to Donald Brenner, Aluf’s attorney on October 15, 2007, Mr. Price writes:
“I must inform you that your letter dated October 3, 2007 was at best disappointing. Your date of December 25, 2007 for the installation of new control equipment and an acceptable stack test is now a date that must be adhered to. Any delay from this date for any reason will be met with an Administrative Formal Hearing for current violations in addition to the previously stipulated violations.”
The only stack testing results from Aluf to this date are the problematic stack tests conducted by Gammie Air Monitoring which was the company hired by Aluf to conduct the testing in 2006.
RECENT COMMENTARY FROM OFFICIALS ON THIS ISSUE
On August 16, 2016, Scott McKane, Senior Public Health Engineer from the RCDOH wrote to the Town of Orangetown, Zoning Board of Appeals regarding the upcoming Performance Standards for Aluf Plastics:
“We have received an application for the above reference project. There has been a long history of odor complaints at this facility. These complaints are now being referred to the NYSDEC. The Board may wish to forward a copy of this application for comment by the DEC. Any changes to the facility air discharge may need DEC review/approval prior to construction.”
On October 25, 2016, Mr. McKane wrote to the ZBA again:
“We have received an application for the above reference project. There has been a long history of odor complaints at this facility. After reviewing the submitted documentation, it does not appear that additional steps are being proposed to address or correct this problem.
There are no Rockland County Health Department approvals needed for this project.”
In a letter to the Zoning Board of Appeals dated September 21, 2016, Councilman Thomas Diviny writes:
“Unfortunately, Aluf has not been acting very neighborly and has ignored resident concerns regarding emissions from its facility. Aluf has received numerous complaints, too many to count, regarding noxious odors coming from its plant and said complaints appear to have fallen on deaf ears.”
On November 16, 2016, Town of Orangetown Supervisor Andy Stewart submitted a letter to George Sweikert from the NYSDEC. Mr. Stewart stated:
“Aluf has a long history of dragging its feet on odor control investments while expanding its operations greatly, and this history has been harmful to the quality of life and peace of mind of our community.”
On December 13, 2016, the Town of Orangetown Board voted to approve the following resolution:
RESOLVED that the Town Board directs the Town Attorney to file action in Supreme Court Rockland County, against Aluf Plastics seeking injunctive relief and any other relief deemed necessary by the Town Board with regard to enforcement action and numerous violations of town codes and Aluf’s continuous failure to abide by town codes that affect the health and safety of the residents of the Town of Orangetown.
This story is unfinished.
We will remain vigilant and we will bear witness to the environmental pollution which is occurring in our community. We will continue to educate residents and engage our neighbors.
We are Clean Air for Orangetown. Together we can make our air better.