The DiPizio family via the corporate entity AL Asphalt contracted Orion Environmental Solutions, LLC to perform an odor analysis in regards to the proposed hot mix asphalt plant to be located on Camp Road in the Town of Hamburg.
We obtained this study by filing a freedom of information act request with the Town of Hamburg. We understand that most residents simply do not have time to go town hall and petition these documents via the freedom of information act, so we have added the documents here for all public parties to view.
For those who wish to see the summary points of concern from this study instead of reading through all twenty-four pages of the report, here are the main issues:
- The study uses artificially low wind speeds to help their model achieve compliance.
- The study states that some variables cannot be known in terms of filling the oil silo and trucking and loading asphalt.
- The study does not adequately consider the Town of Hamburg code in terms of allowable proximity districts with other zoning.
- The plant admits that it will produce napthalene, a dangerous chemical likely to cause cancer in human beings and shown to cause cancer in rodent studies, and that emissions of napthalene will exist over at least a three mile radius.
- Due to all of these facts and the existing Town of Hamburg zoning code, the applicant’s own study shows that the proposed site is not at all “expressly permitted within the zoning where the property is located” as the attorney representing the company states. This would mean that the facility would have to apply for a variance to proceed. We would hope that the Town would rule against any variances due to the circumstances around this proposal.
For more thorough details of each of the aforementioned points, feel free to read on:
- The study claims to be modeled via the NYSDEC tools for a “worst case scenario”, attempting to prove the point that odor will not be emitted from the plant off of the plant’s own site and property.
- This appears to be misleading, at least from an outside perspective. The fastest wind speed at the emissions stack suggested in either of these studies is 0.6m/s, with two of the models using 0.5m/s as the wind speed.
- This equates to 1.34mph or 1.12mph.
- The average wind speed in the zip code 14075 is 14.3mph average all twelve months using the data referenced in this weather almanac.
- Even with the wind speed being modeled at unrealistically low speeds, their model suggests that the nearest parcels would reach 75.2% of napthalene saturation legally allowed.
- Further, the study states that the property is “rural”, and models after the Winter months which they will not operate in. We are unsure if they are claiming that these variables produce part of their proposed “worst case scenario”, but they are certainly not realistic as the plant will not operate in Winter and the property is certainly not rural.
- Further, the study states “odorous emissions at the HMA plant are typically associated with two activities: daily filling of the on-site asphalt oil storage tank and loading of HMA into trucks or silo.”
- In regards to filling the asphalt oil tank, their study states “it is difficult to estimate continuous emissions from the tank, and associated odors generated from the tank should be negligible,” but does not offer any assurances that their model accounts for filling the oil tank or that it would not exceed the emissions proposed by their prospective model.
- In regards to filling the hot mix asphalt into trucks or silos, their study states “At the point of loading, the HMA is hot and oil has just been mixed with aggregate, and the action of transferring from conveyor into truck (or silo) tends to ‘aerate’ the HMA, exposing much surface area to the air which can liberate the odorous volatile compounds.”
- Further, their study states “because the silo is the tallest structure in the HMA plant, and the action of transferring HMA by conveyor, the contribution to the potential for any off-site impact of odorous compounds from the silo will be much greater than those associated with the asphalt oil storage tank.”
- This functionally admits that the process of filling the oil tank and loading the trucks to be exiting the facility with asphalt are erroneous events that they are claiming are too hard to adequately model.
- Last, all testing provided has to do with emissions from the stack, which their own report admits is likely the lowest source of pollution and odor. This study does not adequate assess the introduced pollutants due to loading and trucking.
- The study measures the distance to the closest operating business using Carubba Collision as an example, stating that they are 575-feet away.
- This again ignores the Town of Hamburg code, which states:
Limitations on uses in the M-3 District:
(1) No use of land, building or structure shall be permitted, the operation of which normally results in any:
(b) Dissemination of atmospheric pollutant, noise or odor into any R, C, M-1 or M-2 District.
- Due to this, we cannot use Carubba Collision as the nearest measurable site for pollutants, but rather we need to use the nearest M-2 or C zoned property border. As shown in their own example provided in Figure 1 of the attached PDF documentation, the proposed site is actually 190′ from M-2 zoning when referencing the Town of Hamburg zoning map. This 190′ measure may be blurry on Figure 1 in the scan, but evidence can be provided that it is denoted as 190′ as necessary, and the Town of Hamburg does have a clear copy of this figure donated as 190′.
- The closest testing figure which their study is willing to provide is 400′, over twice the amount of distance of the closest M-2 zoning. This clearly is designed to skirt the Town of Hamburg rule stating that no pollutant or odor can be disseminated into M-2 zoning, regardless of current ownership.
- Last, the study addresses that pollutants will be detectable as far as 5000 meters away, which is equivalent to 16,404.2 feet, or 3.106 miles. An example of the radius 3 miles from the 5690 Camp Road address is provided using a mapping tool:
- While these pollutants will be in amounts technically below the legal limit, they are nonetheless pollutants, and the verbiage provided by the Town of Hamburg code explicitly states that any dissemination of atmospheric pollutant is within the limitations of the district. This does not state that the pollutant must be below an allowable limit, but rather that it must not exist at all. This shows that the pollutants clearly will encroach upon the entire Village of Hamburg, large portions of the Town of Hamburg, potentially into Orchard Park and beyond. It is worth noting that their study simply stops counting at 5000 meters and does not indicate that there is no pollution beyond this radius.
- This study supposedly measures odor only, but that is also misleading. The primary chemical stated in the study is napthalene. The U.S. National Library of Medicine states that napthalene is “a white, volatile, solid polycyclic hydrocarbon with a strong mothball odor.”
- Further, the same journal states “Exposure to naphthalene is associated with hemolytic anemia, damage to the liver and neurological system, cataracts and retinal hemorrhage. Naphthalene is reasonably anticipated to be a human carcinogen and may be associated with an increased risk of developing laryngeal and colorectal cancer. (NCI05)”
Due to all of these facts, this facility will absolutely require a variance to operate at the proposed site. Due to the large public outcry and risk of both lawsuit and health concerns, we would hope that the Town of Hamburg would do the right thing and rule against any variance which could be issued to grant operation for this nature of business at this facility.