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DER - Lancaster New Era Lancaster, PA (LANC) STORY 197

State will meet with compost plant critics
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(Copyright 1997 Lancaster Newspapers)

State environmental officials will meet with a Penn Township
citizens group and state Rep. Katie True next week before deciding
whether to close a controversial composting facility.
The Department of Environmental Protection is weighing whether to
shut the former A&M Composting plant after the company recently
failed two odor tests.
A 1994 agreement signed between the state and new owner J.P.
Mascaro & Sons stipulated the plant would be shut down if an odor
test and a follow-up test fail state standards.
The plant, long beset with odor complaints from neighbors, has
raised new hackles. Mascaro has signed a $95.6 million contract to
receive and compost New York City's sewage sludge for 15 years.
Regional DEP officials met with A&M's corporate attorney on
Tuesday for three hours on the odor test failures. Alternative
punitive measures, complaints about the accuracy of the odor test and
the consent agreementwere discussed, DEP officials said.
Now, DEP wants to meet with critics of the operation "before
taking a final enforcement action," DEP spokeswoman Sandra Roderick
said this morning.
"We wanted to give the residents an opportunity to express their
concerns about the operation in their community," Roderick said.
A date and place have not yet been finalized, but True has
already said she will attend, as well as leaders of the Penn Township
citizens group, Lancaster Citizens for Quality Air, Roderick said.
After the meeting, DEP plans to announce a decision on the
facility within a few weeks, she said.
True has already stated the plant should be closed, according to
the terms of the consent agreement.
At a public meeting in Penn Township last seek, about 100
residents from Lancaster, York and Berks counties, as well as from
West Virginia, protested the New York sludge proposal and Mascaro's
various composting operations.

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compiled by Ben Oostdam on February 9, 2001