Slapped with a hefty $25,000 fine from the state, along with hard-and-fast deadlines, Peninsula Compost said it is currently reviewing the Deptartment of Natural Resources and Environmental Control secretary’s targeted order.
“We agree that there are issues that need to be addressed and have already begun implementing an action plan,” a statement from Peninsula read.
According to DNREC, the composting facility’s odor emissions, oversized waste piles, storage outside of approved boundaries and keeping prohibited waste, e.g., plastic bags, are all violations of its operating permit.
Company spokesman Brian Schaffer responded to these specific violations in a statement:
“There are two elements that unfortunately caught us by surprise as our operation has evolved. First, we expected a much higher percentage of homeowner yard waste to be free of plastic bags. Secondly, there are times when we have more hazard-free compost in our inventory than we had expected. The plastic issue and the excess compost inventory are both unsightly and we are working on changing our operation to address both.”
With respect to odor, Peninsula said, to date, it has responded to every call received by the facility’s 24-hour odor hotline.
“In most cases, we have determined that the origin of the smell is not likely our facility. This is based upon the weather, direction of the wind and the condition of our plant at time of the call and prior to the call. While we clearly are not perfect, there are other possible odor sources that are contributing to this frustration,” Schaffer said.
DNREC said its issuance of the secretary’s order is an escalation after the composting facility continually failed to remedy these violations brought to its attention as early as May 2012.
Schaffer defended Peninsula, saying the majority of the time his operation is compliant with state standards, adding while the violations qualify as “significant housekeeping issues,” they do not pose any threat to the environment.
Peninsula has 35 days to fix the problems laid out by the state or pay $1,000 for each day it’s not in compliance.