Contra Costa Health Services’ Environmental Health division (CCEH), acting for CalRecycle as the Local Enforcement Agency (LEA), has issued a cease-and-desist order to a Richmond composting facility to stop them from accepting new green-waste, food waste or other compostable material until it changes business practices that increase fire danger and cause foul odors in the surrounding community.
The cease-and-desist order was issued on January 24, 2017 after repeated inspections showed that West Contra Costa Sanitary Landfill’s Organic Materials Processing Facility accepted more compostable waste than permitted and unsafely operated the biological manufacturing operation (composting).
“Since September 2016, there have been more than 400 complaints from the surrounding community about odors coming from the facility. Although the odors are not imminently dangerous they do cause a public nuisance and some reports indicated having headache, nausea, throat irritation and breathing problems,” said Dr. Marilyn Underwood, CCEH Director.
CCEH will meet with CalRecyle and the compost facility to ensure the cease-and-desist is done in a manner that does not a create public health nuisance.
Inspectors have repeatedly cited too-high piles of composting material and volumes of material greater than permitted at the facility, and in October 2016 issued an order requiring the operator to stop releasing noxious odors off site. The facility did not comply and was fined $45,000.
“We have been in regular communication with the facility regarding its waste management practices,” Dr. Marilyn Underwood said. “We are not satisfied that the facility operators are doing all that it should to prevent fires or the release of strong odors into the community. We encourage composting but it must be done correctly. ”
Since March 2014, seven fires have been documented in the composting area of the facility on Parr Boulevard, resulting from improperly managed concentrations of organic material.
CCEH has ordered the facility to submit a written plan detailing how it will change its business practices by February 1, and to remove material identified as causing off-site odors to a permitted facility.
Failure to comply with the order may result in additional fines and the permanent loss of the facility’s permit.
The order will not prevent private individuals from bringing waste materials to the facility.
To make a complaint about air pollution or industrial odors in Contra Costa County, call the Bay Area Air Quality Management District at 1-800-344-ODOR (6367).