‘odor laws’ and ‘air pollution’ regulations

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‘odor laws’ and ‘air pollution’ regulations

Postby Wilberforce » Fri Nov 30, 2012 8:08 pm

The ins and outs of ‘odor laws’ and ‘air pollution’ regulations

Posted: Thursday, November 29, 2012 12:50 pm
By Mike Condon, Editor | 0 comments

ROXBURY TWP. – What exactly are the “odor” laws? And what is considered “air pollution” locally?

Those are questions township officials have been forced to study, and respond to, over the course of the past few weeks, since strong methane odors have begun emanating, apparently, from the former Fenimore landfill onMooneyMountain.

Though not continual- they are reported typically between 5 and9 p.m.at night- residents up to a mile away have reported feeling nauseous, sore throats and general irritation from the noxious fumes.

Roxbury Fire Chief Kirk Keyes said the odors have caused several concerned calls to the police and fire department over the last month of so.

“On Black Friday, we got a call from the Sports Authority in Ledgewood. They thought they had a gas leak,” Keyes said.

“We’ve been getting multiple calls. Probably one or two a night about this smell,” Keyes said, adding that, in each case, fire officials advise residents to call the DEP trouble hotline at 1-877-WARN DEP.

Mayor Fred Hall reported a similar experience at the Ledgewood Wal-Mart the day after Thanksgiving.

“I got out of my car last week, one night, and the smell just knocks you over. My wife asked what is that smell, and I said, you know, I think it’s coming from the dump,” Hall said.

Several investigations later, which included checking for sewer and gas leaks all over town, officials and the state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) now agree that, indeed, the smells are coming from the dump, which is currently being “filled and capped” by a developer who hopes to eventually construct a solar panel farm on the site.

In the meantime, township officials are encouraging residents to file “odor” complaints with the DEP.

At the Township Council meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 27, Emergency Management Coordinator passed out an “odor fact sheet,” detailing what constitutes “air pollution” and what can be done about it.

According to the state DEP, the Air Pollution Control Act “prohibits the emission into the outdoor atmosphere of air contaminants in quantities that result in air pollution.”

Air pollution is defined as “the presence in the outdoor atmosphere of one or more air contaminants in such quantities and duration as are, or tend to be, injurious to human health or welfare, animal or plant life or property, or would unreasonably interfere with the enjoyment of life or property.”

“Odor is an air contaminant and therefore may be considered air pollution if it is present in a way that unreasonably interferes with the enjoyment of life or property,” the act states.

After receiving a complaint, the local health officer will go to the complainant’s location and attempt to verify the presence of the air contaminant at the location. The inspector will then ask the complainant to complete a statement of complaint form. By completing the form, the complainant is attesting that the odor “unreasonably interfered with the enjoyment of life or property.”

The investigator then must independently verify that the odor “unreasonably interfered with the enjoyment of life or property” by performing his/her own investigation.

Locally, the health department can issue a notice of violation for $a fine of $1,100 per day for each occurrence.

The DEP, however, can issues fines ranging from $150 to $1,400. Subsequent or continuing violations may be subject to penalties of up to $15,000 per violation.

The regulations also state that not all odors are treated the same.

They are categorized from “very light” to “very strong.”

A “very light” odor is described as one which is present, which activates the sense of smell, but of which the exact characteristics “may not be distinguishable.”

A “very strong” odor, however, is deemed “overpowering and intolerable for any length of time and which causes physiological effects.”

Those who have complained of the odor in Roxbury have leaned toward the “very strong” end of the spectrum.

source
http://newjerseyhills.com/roxbury_regis ... 963f4.html
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