Desert composting facility plagued by odor complaints ordered to cease and desist – Orange County Register

Citing odor issues, fire hazards and apparent violations of state laws, the San Bernardino County Health Department has ordered a High Desert composting facility that processes sewage sludge and green waste from residents throughout Southern California to cease operations.

The 80-acre Nursery Products facility, owned by Maryland-based Synagro, made headlines this summer when workers spent months trying to put out a fire that was blanketing residents in the nearby communities of Hinkley, Helendale and Barstow with a stench burning plastic mixed with smoldering sewage. Local residents reported ill health and layers of dirt covering their homes.

Regulators said rotting waste spontaneously burned deep in the composting pits as early as May after the facility took on too much product — shipped in from Los Angeles, Orange and Riverside counties — and failed to handle it properly.

Officials eventually said the fire was out by mid-September. But county health officials said in a Sept. 29 cease-and-desist letter that with current operating and storage practices, the facility still poses “a potential risk of fire or significant smoldering” that “may harm public health, safety and the public.” . Vicinity.”

The notice states that the site also has an ongoing odor and nuisance risk. And it is said that Synagro is violating waste management regulations and not operating according to its permits.

Until county officials see evidence that all of those concerns have been addressed, the release said the company faces fines of $10,000 per case per day if it introduces a new product.

Synagro is “in close communication” with the county’s health authorities on this issue, company spokesman Layne Baroldi said via email on Thursday.

“We are working with them to resolve their concerns, many of which have already been resolved or are being addressed,” he said.

Baroldi did not elaborate on what triggered the cease and desist letter or what changes his company made in response.

State regulators have also been monitoring the situation via CalRecycle, which helps monitor composting operations.

Baroldi said they expect to resume composting at the facility soon. In the meantime, he said, they provide “nonstop composting services to communities that we serve throughout Southern California through our other stateside facilities.”

Synagro also operates composting facilities in Kern County and in Central and Northern California. Baroldi did not specify where Southern California’s trash is going now.

Every day, agencies like the South Orange County Wastewater Authority filled two trucks with leftover sewage sludge and hauled it 130 miles to reach the company’s High Desert facility. Sending to the Kern County facility requires an additional 70 miles each way.

Sanitation experts say there is an ongoing shortage of composting facilities in California. So if you take one offline for an unknown amount of time, other websites will likely continue to be burdened.

That worries Norman Diaz, a Barstow resident who planned to lead a group against the nursery produce facility 16 years ago.

Diaz said the smell has gotten better in recent weeks and he’s happy to see at least some action from regulators on the matter. But he said he didn’t want the problem to simply be shifted to another municipality. Instead, he hopes this will prompt regulators to finally require facilities like this to be more closely monitored and locked away to avoid odor problems, as his group suggested when the project was first proposed.

“This stuff is manufactured and has to be handled responsibly,” he said. Desert composting facility plagued by odor complaints ordered to cease and desist – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

TheHitc is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button