Odor was 'asphalt-ish'
Last week's letter on the Asphalt Plant proposal for North Road peaked our interest. We live in West Bethel and noticed strong odors during 2010. Folks we asked attributed it to the paper mills and dismissed it. Thinking about it now I recall the difference between the odors coming from paper mills from the new odor, which was "asphalt-ish." We're now very concerned about this issue.
Digging into it revealed long unresolved problems with an Augusta plant, which is owned/operated by a Mr. S. McGhee, who owns the Bethel land where the Manzer plant is proposed to go. Complainants in Augusta have been ignored and out-maneuvered in their efforts to ensure that asphalt emissions remain within safe and tolerable limits. In fact, their success has been limited to passing a moratorium to prevent such plants from locating within the zone in the future.
During our Dec. 8, 2010 Planning Board meeting a board member reminded Mr. Manzer that Bethel had an ordinance against odors leaving property boundaries. Mr. Manzer responded to the effect that he was unaware the plant had any odors. To that strains credulity. Brief research reveals a vast body of environmental issues characterizing them as emitters of offensive odors and dangerous chemicals.
The implications of this issue appear to justify much more aggressive investigation and review than has occurred to date. A group of citizens will do that and prepare documentation to be presented at the next Planning Board Meeting on Feb. 9. We strongly encourage all interested citizens to attend.
Seabury and Sharon Lyon