Schuylkill County Commissioner Boots Hetherington said Wednesday that Natural Soil Products, Frailey Township, is being fined $500 daily for failing to install a remediation method to reduce noxious odors from its biosolids facility.
NSP is owned and operated by Tully Environmental, of Flushing, NY.
NSP had until October 15 to install the Gore Biosolids Composting System at its facility in western Schuylkill County. That’s per a Consent Order and Agreement reached with Pennsylvania’s Dept. of Environmental Protection earlier this year.
The reason that Consent Order and Agreement was necessary is due to numerous complaints filed by residents of several communities in that part of Schuylkill County, including Joliett, Good Spring, Donaldson, Newtown, and Tremont.
At Wednesday’s Schuylkill County Commissioners Work Session meeting, Chairman Hetherington finally addressed the public complaints he received that day and for well more than a year at the Courthouse.
“I understand the situation on the west end. I understand your concern,” Hetherington said.
He said he’s been in contact with Frailey Township Supervisor Keith Allar regarding the progress of NSP installing the Gore system. Allar reportedly told Hetherington that the work’s not complete and likely won’t be until Dec. 1.
Rain delayed concrete pouring and some equipment to complete the project arrived late, he said. Further, NSP reportedly filed for an extension on the Oct. 15 deadline and was denied by DEP, Hetherington said.
Until that system is online, the Commissioner said, NSP will see a $500 daily fine imposed. Earlier this year, the company was fined $50,000 by DEP for failing to mitigate the odors from this facility.
A DEP investigation led to the Consent Order and Agreement with NSP. In addition to the Gore system, NSP must also reduce the amount of sewage sludge intake at the Schuylkill County facility. It is also ordered to monitor weather conditions that might affect smells escaping the facility.
On Wednesday, as they have for some time now, residents affected by these smells complained to Commissioners to take action. They say these smells are impacting their quality of life, causing sleeplessness and illness.
Watch the latest Commissioners meeting here:
While responses have been very limited from Commissioners in the past, Hetherington took a minute to address them on Wednesday. That may have something to do with the upcoming General Election, in which he’s looking to be elected to office for the first time since being installed as Commissioner in 2020.
Hetherington added to previous comments, saying he spoke that morning to State Rep. Joanne Stehr, who represents that area in Harrisburg.
Stehr reportedly told Hetherington that she drives through the area daily to monitor the situation and is on the phone with DEP daily, doing her “best to defend the people of the west end.”
Hetherington added, “We’re not sitting on our hands. We are aware of what’s going on and trying to crack down and get this thing done.”
Watch his comments from Wednesday here: