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GASP to ACHD: Neville Chemical Operating Permit Insufficient; Residents Deserve Stronger Protections

At a permit hearing Tuesday, GASP joined residents and advocates from Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN) and others to demand the Allegheny County Health Department (ACHD) ensure Neville Chemical’s Title V operating permit is as protective of public health as possible.

As a reminder, Neville Township-based Neville Chemical is a manufacturer of hydrocarbon resins used extensively in the formulation of adhesive and sealants, concrete cure, coatings, inks, tire, and industrial rubber products.

The facility has also been a significant source of stench for local residents and a subject of ACHD enforcement action in recent years.

What kind of odor does a hydrocarbon resin manufacturer produce? Here's how our communications manager and longtime Neville Township resident Amanda Gillooly described it to us:

"It's this pungent, chemical odor that makes your eyes water and your throat close up. On several occasions, I needed to use my rescue inhaler while stopped at the red light in front of the facility," she said. "It's really awful."

While our senior attorney John Baillie pored over the details of Neville Chemical's Title V permit and provided formal technical comments that you can read here, GASP Executive Director Patrick Campbell presented these comments at the hearing:

Good evening. My name is Patrick Campbell, I am the executive director of the Group Against Smog and Pollution - or GASP - a nonprofit organization advocating for improved air quality since 1969.

Today, we are here to request the Allegheny County Health Department revise its draft Title V operating permit for Neville Chemical Co. to incorporate required “compliance certification, testing, monitoring, reporting and recordkeeping requirements sufficient to assure compliance with the terms and conditions of the permit.”

After an exhaustive review of the draft permit, it is not clear how the testing, monitoring, recording, or reporting requirements are sufficient to assure compliance with various limits on PM emissions from the facility’s packaging operations.

For example, at most, testing for some sources of emissions at the facility are required only once every five years, which is not sufficient to assure compliance with permitted limits.

GASP has submitted formal technical comments that go into greater detail about those testing, monitoring, recording, and reporting requirements and how they are deficient- comments we hope ACHD heeds.

Because residents in the Neville Island airshed need all the public health protections this Title V operating permit can provide. Living near industrial facilities like Neville Chemical impacts the health and quality of life for those on the island and beyond.

When it comes to Neville Chemical, specifically, we’ve heard horror stories from one of GASP’s staff members about the noxious odors emanating from the plant.

She told us she dreaded driving past while on her way to work and getting stuck at the red light outside the facility because on those occasions, the odor would make her eyes water and her throat close up.

She told us and ACHD staff in complaints that more often than not, she needed to use her rescue inhaler - that’s how pungent the offsite odors were.

We shouldn’t be hearing these types of stories on the outskirts of one of America’s Most Livable Cities, especially when ACHD has both the authority and tools to ensure Neville Chemical complies with air quality regulations through a more stringent Title V operating permit.

Thank you.






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