Another meeting is set to be hosted tonight at 6:30pm (Wednesday, September 18th) at Hamburg Town Hall. While this meeting will not be open to public comment, it is important that members of the public appear to show their support against the proposed asphalt plant and that they are available to directly hear the information provided by the Town in regards to this proposal.
In preparation for this meeting, a helpful tip was submitted with further application data obtained via FOIL request to the NYSDEC. Included in this post are two studies, showing that the plant was initially proposed to operate at a capacity of 200k tons per year, but would have exceeded the NYSDEC permitted levels of formaldehyde emissions. Due to this, the environmental engineer contracted to produce these studies simply stated that the plant would then be limited to 135k tons per year, putting the emissions of formaldehyde at 99.9% of the legal allowable limit according to the NYSDEC.
This would indicate that any overage in production, or any unpredictable environmental or atmospheric condition could put the facility beyond its legal allowable limits of emissions immediately.
It is also important to understand that the NYSDEC has different legal allowable limits than the Town of Hamburg. The NYSDEC has guidelines for allowable emissions, where the Town of Hamburg code explicitly states that emissions of any amount cannot leave the zoning district and enter into any other zoning district.
On that topic, the environmental engineer includes data showing that emissions of Xylene, a known occupational hazard, will exist at “approximately 500-feet from the source”, which the study states is the property boundary.
Since Camp Road and the other adjacent plots are not M-3 zoned, this admits that Xylene will be emitted into adjacent plots, again violating the Town of Hamburg code on emissions pertinent to M-3 zoning as have been documented in our other published articles. The 500-feet measure is also a bit misleading, as mentioned in our other articles as well, due to the fact that the plant is only 190-feet from the nearest zoning change, and at the 500-feet measure the amount of Xylene is already at 10.8% of the legal allowable annual limit.
The applicant and environmental engineer can argue that Xylene is allowable in these levels by the NYSDEC, as their model does suggest at this time, but the word “any” used in the Town of Hamburg code indicates that Xylene of any amount would violate town code.
We are under the impression that the contracted environmental study by the Town of Hamburg should clearly and obviously expose this same fact, hopefully with better modeling to suggest more accurate distances to property boundaries and with more scenarios that could occur in real world applications.
To review these studies yourself, please reference the following links: