Minster contacts Danone, EPA about odors

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman - For the Sidney Daily News

MINSTER – Concerns with Danone odors and noise were subjects at the Minster Council meeting Tuesday night, June 16. The meeting was held at Four Seasons Park to allow social distancing.

Craig Sherman, Minster resident, returned to the council to ask what remedies the village could implement to alleviate the strong odors that have come from Danone yogurt plant at least 21 days since the beginning of the year. Sherman also was asking for answers at the June 2 meeting.

Sherman offered some suggestions on how to get a zero occurrence of odor problems. They included raising the assessments on Danone when ammonia levels in wastewater rise higher. Sherman had looked at wastewater treatment plant records and said the odors seemed to occur when ammonia levels rise close to the maximum level of 17.

He also said other problems seem to occur when milk waste products are trucked off the Danone plant property. He asked if perhaps hauling could be done during the night when people are not outside.

Village Administrator Don Harrod said he had taken several actions to get information from Danone and the EPA.

He said he received an email from Dave Merrick, Danone plant manager, saying that they understood the problems and would begin daily inspections to detect problems early. He also said he would work with Veeola, their wastewater management company, to try to achieve zero odor problems.

The village administrator also said he sent a letter directly to Danone’s corporate office, as requested by Sherman.

Harrod also said he spoke to Elizabeth Moss of the Ohio EPA, as well as John Castorette, the EPA solid waste management specialist. Harrod said they recommended obtaining monitoring equipment to detect odors from gasses being emitted that included hydrogen sulfide and methane. The equipment also would monitor wind speed and direction.

He was told that odor control was not part of the EPA permit to Danone, but there could be something the EPA could do if the public felt odor was creating a nuisance. To do that, a baseline record of occurrences must be created.

In order to help gather instances of odor data, Harrod said they had put an EPA survey form on the village website which residents can fill out for each odor instance.

Other residents at the meeting did register concerns. Joe Goebel said that in order to implement changes, it seemed that it would be good to understand the root causes of odors instead of just reacting to symptoms. Root cause analysis reports from Danone have been requested by Sherman but not provided.

Todd and Lynn Kitzmiller also had concerns about Danone operation, in this case for noise at the loading docks.

They asked the village request Danone consider other types of back-up alarms since Ohio OSHA allows other technologies to be used, such as back-up cameras, lights or even a human spotter. Mr. Kitzmiller allowed that the noise had been better than in previous years, but that it seemed to be getting louder again.

In other business, council approved several actions.

Council agreed to allow Vaugh Electric to upgrade wiring between First and Fourt streets for a cost of approximately $48,000 for two weeks work. Vaugh is currently completing the new substation in the village and Harrod said that the electrical contractor had the equipment to reach the poles in that area. He pointed out that the current wiring has less capacity than newer electrical power and that that current wiring was put up in the 80’s and was deteriorating. The village has already purchased the new wiring and will recycle the old.

Harrod also said they plan to begin looking a sidewalks in the village for tripping hazards and other excessive. They also will be looking at requesting landowners install sidewalks on undeveloped properties in town.

Jeff Lynch of Bud’s Pizza obtained council’s permission go outside the county to obtain and transfer a license that would allow him to sell wine, saying he had no interest in hard liquor.

Council also approved a second reading to accept the Barrett Paving $191,391.25 contract for the Minor Street resurfacing project. Harrod said Barrett had also agreed that as part of this contract they would repair Fifth Street pavement problems in a project Barrett did last summer.

Approved was a second reading of an ordinance to annex 18.44 acres of land at the corner of Seventh and Main streets. It was agreed the village would added details to the agreement so that the village is not responsible for maintaining the retention pond and public access areas in the acreage.

Council approved transfer of $160,000 to complete the new basketball and pickleball courts and increased the electrical substation account to $1.1 million to complete that project.

John Stechshulte, village fiscal officer, reported that income tax revenues last month were higher than expected since the COVID pandemic had resulted in job layoffs. In May, the village received $216,810.47 for a total of $1,681,544.53 for the year. He said this was only $56,000 less than in 2019 at this time.

Council then adjourned for executive session. When they returned to an open meeting they announced that they would sign an agreement with Eitri Foundary to build a 4.5 megawatt solar field in the industrial park. This would double the amount of solar energy available to the village at a cost of $0.648 kWh.

By Sandy Rose Schwieterman

For the Sidney Daily News

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.

The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.