Tuesday, December 6, 2016

That bad smell could be history next week

POINT RICHMOND - Representatives of Republic Services - operators of the Parr Road transfer station and composting facility along Richmond Parkway - promised Tuesday night that within a week the odor that has been fouling the air in Point Richmond and environs should be gone.

Doug Brewer, an environmental manager with the company told a crowd of 30 people at Kaleidoscope Coffee that the company had trucked out nearly all of the sour (and bad-smelling) compost that was responsible for the gagging stench that prompted many dozens of complaints since October.

"We are committed to being good neighbors," Brewer said.

Audience at Kaleidoscope Coffee in Point Richmond
Brewer and Republic staff members said the combination of a wet winter last year and unusually warm fall temperatures combined to create the compost problem, prompting the company - and the urging of the Contra Costa County Health Department - to install an entirely new system of composting using forced air. The former system simply set up rows of composting material.

The new system is about 50 percent complete, he said. "And it knocks out about 90 percent of potential for bad smells."

Responding to complaints, the county had ordered Republic to get rid of the offensive-smelling compost. Most of it has been trucked to a Republic-owned landfill near Pittsburgh with the last of the material due to be trucked this week.

"Saturday, or no later than Monday, it should all be gone," Brewer said.

The audience asked numerous questions about air sampling, the permitting process, and who to complain to if foul odors occur again.

Several Point residents complained that the odor had given them sore throats and headaches.

A number of questions were also asked about the deodorizing agent that Republic has been spraying on the compost in the hopes it would alleviate some of the odor that has wafted across the Point. Several members of the audience were concerned that the deodorizer might be contributing to the odor - maybe making it worse.

The meeting Tuesday night was the second public session Republic sponsored in response to complaints. The first was held Nov. 15 at the Marriott in Hilltop but was attended by only a handful of local residents.

For more information about the Republic Services operation - or to call in a complaint directly to the company - call Bielle Moore, community affairs manager (510-205-4908) or Doug Brewer (510-970-7245). Moore can also be reached by email here: Bielle Moore.

Contra Costa County's Lori Braunesreither at the Department of Health, can be contacted via email here: Lori Braunesreither
Written by Michael J. Fitzgerald