Nepera Meetings 200005
Meetings on Nepera
The Monroe-Woodbury CAP (Community Advisory Panel) that meets monthly on health and safety issues at the Nepera Chemical company in Harriman, NY, has been busy with the recent odor releases occurring at the plant. Meetings have been held at the Central Valley Elementary School and have been well attended by the public with experts from the DEC also attending to answer questions.
The latest incident caused a number of students who are sensitive to the pyridine smell and who had physical reactions (rashes, nausea, headaches, etc.) to be sent home. The plant was shut down by the DEC until a settlement was reached. Nepera paid a $62,500 plus fine and agreed to a number of restrictions. An on-site DEC monitor will be hired by the DEC (but paid for by Nepera) to oversee Nepera’s operations on a daily basis and to help ensure they are operating safely. Additionally, Nepera has hired ENSR, an engineering firm, to conduct a review of all manufacturing operations on the site. The company says that recommendations for equipment improvements will be implemented.
The CAP held a joint meeting with the CAER (Community Awareness and Emergency Responnse) Subcommittee on March 3rd to discuss the problems the schools and the community response teams have had with Nepera’s reporting procedures in the past. The Community Alert Network (CAN) response procedures, priority list notification protocols, and who should be on the lists was reviewed at length. Ellen Stoutenberg of the DEC attended all meetings and will incorporate suggestions from these meetings into the protocols for Nepera as required by the DEC.
Addtionally, Nepera had to appear in Village Court in the Village of Harriman on two charges of air quality violations for the odor releases in February. They pleaded not guilty and will appear again on May 17.
The Woodbury Zoning Board is holding a public hearing on Wednesday, the 22nd, at the Woodbury Town Hall, Route 32, Highland Mills, for the special permit renewal for “…operation and maintenance of a chemical production facility with its tank farm and other associated equipment.” A special audit report was prepared by Gerald J. Lauer, Ph.D. of Applied Science Associates for the Town of Woodbury for the Town’s and the public’s review.
Recent statistics on incidents of asthma attacks as reported by local hospitals shows that the Monroe-Woodbury area has one of the lowest rates in the region (Times Herald Record article: Tuesday, March 14, 2000). The study was done by the state Department of Health at the request of the Times Herald Record.