State hasn't decided on fine for Penn compost firm
P.J. Reilly
2359 Characters
(Copyright 1997 Lancaster Newspapers)

State environmental officials met with the owners of a Penn
Township composting plant Tuesday to discuss failed odor tests at the
But they delayed a decision on fining or shutting down the J.P.
Mascaro & Sons plant because of the violations.
Sandy Roderick, a spokeswoman for the state Department of
Environmental Protection, said two DEP deputy secretaries, Terry
Fabian and Terry Bossert, want to tour the plant before deciding on a
penalty within the next two weeks.
According to the DEP, the Mountain Road plant failed an odor test
recently and was required to undergo a second test, which it also
failed. The test measures how efficiently the plant's biofiltration
system blocks compost odors from escaping into the outside air,
Roderick said.
DEP officials received several odor complaints in recent weeks
from residents who live near the plant, but they failed to note any
odors on a site visit.
Roderick said it is the DEP's position that the Mascaro plant
should be shut down because of the second odor-test failure, in
accordance with the company's operating consent agreement with the
The company requested Tuesday's meeting to discuss alternative
punitive measures and to state its position on the odor tests and the
provisions within the consent agreement.
"We listened to their company's concerns because it is an
important decision to shut a company down, and we want to make sure
we are fair to them," Roderick said.
A date when Fabian and Bossert will tour the plant has not been
set, nor could Roderick say exactly when they will deliver their
decision on the plant's future.
At a meeting last week in Penn Township to discuss Mascaro's
plans to accept sewer sludge from New York City, the company's
attorney said there were no odor problems at the plant.
Corporate attorney William Fox called the odor tests "arbitrary"
and claimed the company does not feel the consent agreement calls for
a plant shutdown in the wake of the second failed test.
Fox could not be reached Tuesday for comment.

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compiled by Ben Oostdam on February 9, 2001