City residents air odor issues

January 17, 1997


Staff Writer

About 20 residents of neighborhoods around the 1st Urban Fiber paper recycling plant at the intersection of Memorial and Eastern boulevards told city officials in a meeting there Thursday night that they continue to be bothered by foul smells.

The residents claimed that while they still smell some odor from the Hagerstown pellet and water pollution control plants off of Frederick Street, the worst odor comes from 1st Urban Fiber.

"When you drive by the plant in your car, the air comes up through the filter in the car and smashes you in the face," a Radcliffe Avenue resident said. "It's that rank out here. It's like rotten eggs."


Those who spoke were not required to give their names.

One woman asked when she would be able to smell the seasons again.

Other residents said at times the plant makes a noise that sounds like a freight train.

Bruce J. Hynes, president and general manager of 1st Urban, said the company has made changes in an effort to eliminate odors, and is calling in noise experts to analyze what, if any, sounds the plant makes.

Hynes said that residents blame 1st Urban Fiber for smells carried on the wind from the city plants.

Clyde J. Harris of Wheelabrator, the firm that operates the pellet plant, told residents the only smell coming from that plant is a slight chlorine odor.

A Radcliffe Avenue man asked Mayor Steven T. Sager when the city was going to enforce its noise and air pollution ordinance.

City Administrator Bruce Zimmerman said the city doesn't normally enforce the ordinance against companies that cooperate with the city. He said 1st Urban Fiber is doing all it can to eliminate any problems at the plant.

Sager said an odor consultant would be back in the city in March to pinpoint the source of the foul odors.

H.D. Thompson of Partners Marketing Limited Liability Partnership, the firm that bought the former Municipal Electric Light Plant building at the intersection of Memorial and Eastern boulevards, asked residents to support a plan to fire up the plant.

City Council members have said they would wait until Thursday night's meeting to decide whether to back the plan by Partners Marketing and Power Sources Inc. The company wants to use fiber waste from 1st Urban and other sources to produce electricity for sale to the city, and steam for sale to Washington County Hospital and 1st Urban Fiber.

Thompson said the power generating plant would not make much noise, and would not smell. Although one resident said she was willing to keep an open mind, others said they wanted no part of the plan.

Thompson has said it is critical to his project that the city buy power from the plant. A "no" vote by City Council probably would kill the project, he said.

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