The Mothers on the Move protests against the New York Organic Fertilizer (NYOFCo) site in Hunts Point in the Bronx (pictured at left in March) led the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to modify the permit requirements of the firm to reduce odors coming from the facility. The question now is: how will they do that? Trash transfer stations usually use perfumes sprayed into the air and negative pressure for enclosed facilities. For asthmatics and others with breathing problems, perfumes only add to the problem. You get a sweetened odor that still irritates airways. The only way sewage treatment plants were able to reduce smells from their sites was to ship the sludge out to area farms instead of letting it dry on site.
The amended permit requirements are due to a lawsuit filed by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) on behalf of 10 plaintiffs and Mothers on the Move. NYOFCo processes about half of the city's sewage sludge into fertilizer pellets. The modified permit calls for the installation of an air pressure alarm to help keep odors from escaping the plant. It will be interesting to see how this situation will be resolved. The bottom line is that the facility probably does not need to be in Hunts Point, which is already inundated with a disproportionately large number of polluting entitites. (NY Daily News, 10/10/08--photo by Susan Watts/Daily News)