Valley Breeze

The Valley Breeze Woonsocket North Smithfield 02-07-2019

The Valley Breeze Newspapers serving the Northern Rhode Island towns of Cumberland, Lincoln, Woonsocket, Smithfield, North Smithfield, Pawtucket, North Providence, Scituate, Foster, and Glocester

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NO. SMITHFIELD BLACKSTONE WOONSOCKET | VALLEY BREEZE | FEB. 7-13, 2019 NO. SMITHFIELD / WOONSOCKET 9 WOONSOCKET – How much is too much? That was the question raised on Monday when the City Council voted to seek out an environmental consultant to investigate the smells emanating from the solid waste pro- cessing plant and wastewater treat- ment facility on Cumberland Hill Road. The vote came after several months of discussion by councilors over how to address the odors that have been a source of complaints by city residents for decades. Councilor Jon Brien, who spon- sored the resolution, told The Breeze the vote is an attempt at an honest conversation over how to address a quality of life issue for the city. Synagro, he noted, has operated a solid waste processing plant on Cumberland Hill Road since 1988, and odors in the area of the facility have been a concern for residents for much of that time. "I think it's important not only as a quality of life issue, but also as an attitude issue. We import solid waste from all around New England and we're trying to change the city's image," he said. Synagro, a Maryland-based com- pany, imports solid waste in sludge and cake form from several New England states for processing at the Cumberland Hill Road plant. While many residents are familiar with the name Synagro, fewer, said Brien, realize the smells actually come from two separate facilities on adja- cent parcels along the Blackstone River. The second facility, a waste- water treatment plant that serves Woonsocket, Blackstone, North Smithfield and Bellingham, Mass., is operated by CH2M Hill, which was purchased by the multinational Jacobs Engineering Group in 2017. That facility, said Brien, currently has two open main tanks used for wastewater treatment. Early discus- sions on the possibility of capping the tanks to prevent odors from escaping have estimated the cost at about $3 million, though an exact cost is unknown. In the case of the Synagro plant, the city has fewer options. According to Brien, the city is currently in the midst of a multi-decade contract with Synagro that expires in 2037. The agreement is worth $68 million in revenue and cost savings for the city and would be impos- sible to exit without a costly legal battle. However, Brien suggested it may be possible to negotiate further measures to reduce the impact of odors on surrounding residents. "I think there are efforts that Synagro can take to minimize what happens there," he said. "The ques- tion is, how much better, and at what cost?" The two facilities currently oper- ate an "odor hotline" and submit monthly odor complaint reports to the City Council. The most recent odor complaint report, from October, shows two complaints submitted by residents early in the month. In both cases, the report indicates that one or both compa- nies checked their equipment after receiving the complaint and deter- mined there were no unusual odors at the facilities. Brien said he believes the number of complaints submitted corresponds with residents' awareness of the issue. He also pointed out the city's efforts to expand athletic fields at nearby Cass Park and added the smells could become an obstacle in making Woonsocket a desirable des- tination for residents of other com- munities. Woonsocket will investigate Synagro, wastewater odors By LAUREN CLEM Valley Breeze Staff Writer BRIEN 'I think there are efforts that Synagro can take to minimize what happens there. The ques- tion is, how much better, and at what cost?.' JON BRIEN Woonsocket City Council member The Meadows will host Valentine Party NORTH SMITHFIELD – The Meadows will hold Valentine Party on Wednesday, Feb. 13, with a buf- fet catered by Quik Stop Deli and entertainment by Scott Rondeau. A bingo event on Monday, Feb. 25. Doors open at 11 a.m. and games will begin at noon. The cost is $20 for everything needed to play. Extra specials will be sold. Snacks will be available for pur- chase. Coffee will be free. For reser- vations, call Connie at 401-597-0417. Bingo is also held every Thursday night. Doors open at 5 p.m. and games being a 6 p.m. A Foxwoods trip is planned for Tuesday, April 16. The next association meeting will be held Monday, March 4. Waterview Association lists events WOONSOCKET – The Waterview Association will hold a Valentine's Day party on Tuesday, Feb. 12. The event will include a meal of chicken pot pie and enter- tainment by Gary the Mailman. The cost is $11. Celebrating a February birthday is Theresa Ryan. At the Jan. 28 meeting, split-the- pot was won by Alma Durand, Annette Blais, Claudette Plante and Claire Laplante. New members are Donna Nantais and Barbara Reneault. SENIOR NEWS S STANLEY TREE Since 1986 • Professional High Quality Service At Reasonable Rates • Licensed Arborists • Serving RI & Nearby Mass. • Our Team Of Professionals Is Fully Equipped To Handle Your Job In A Safe Efficient Manner N. Smithfield, Office Hours: Mon.-Fri. 8 a.m.-4 p.m. Affordable Solutions for Your Tree Problems Fully Insured Free Estimates 401-765-4677 Tree Removal Pruning Cabling Brush Mowing Stump Grinding Crane Service Plant Health Care Spraying/Fertilization TREE REMOVAL EXPERTS 401-737-4581 Go online today! Warwick • East Greenwich • Coventry • Providence • Cranston • North Smithfield • Lincoln • Neck & Back Pain • Whiplash • Surgical Rehabilitation • Sciatica • Aqua Therapy • Shoulder, Knee & Foot Pain • Work & Sports Injuries • Arthritis, and more… In Pain? We Can Help. 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