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Cascades New York facility cited for noxious odor

NEW YORK (From news reports) -- Cascades Containerboard in Niagara Falls will be altering its sludge handling practices after complaints from residents, businesses and politicians.

State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) issued a Notice of Violation to Cascades Containerboard Packaging, Inc. after the agency determined the facility was generating a persistent noxious odor that resulted in dozens of complaints beginning in mid-May.

"After repeated and persistent odor complaints, DEC is directing Cascades Containerboard to undertake a comprehensive suite of actions to stop these odors, effective immediately," DEC Commissioner Basil Seggos said. "We are also requiring Cascades to undertake a full survey of its operations to address the source of this odor and keeping them on task with a compliance schedule to further protect the community of Niagara Falls."

Under the terms of the notice of violation, Cascades must immediately

• Cease storing secondary sludge outdoors

• Reduce facility production to a level that ensures adequate odor control

• Ensure secondary sludge is removed from the facility daily

• Increase odor control applications to its secondary sludge

• Add a portable on-site misting system for sludge treatment to mitigate odors

In addition, DEC is directing Cascades to adhere to a strict compliance schedule, which includes: submitting an explanation for the odors; clarifying its sludge removal plan on weekends and holidays; establishing and managing a 24-hour odor complaint hotline and email system for public use; and submitting bi-weekly progress reports to DEC. The NOV also requires the facility to conduct a survey to identify all potential sources of odors and submit a report detailing its plans to correct the problem.

The violation notice cited the permit law which which states: "No person shall cause or allow emissions of air contaminants to the outdoor atmosphere of such quantity, characteristic or duration which are injurious to human, plant or animal life or to property, or which unreasonably interfere with the comfortable enjoyment of life or property." The NOV follows actions taken by DEC against Cascades in May 2021. DEC staff immediately responded to initial public complaints and, following investigation, issued a warning letter to Cascades Containerboard on May 21.

Cascades responded to the warning letter by acknowledging the source of the odors and providing a plan for corrective action.

Cascades agreed to employ corrective actions to mitigate the odors, including enhanced on-site treatment of its secondary sludge from the on-site wastewater treatment plant, increasing the frequency of off-site transport of sludge and the installation of a misting system to reduce the emanating putrid odors. Despite these actions, DEC continued to receive verified odor complaints.

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