Toxic stench continues

2016-08-02 06:00

THE Upper Highway community were up in arms as toxic odours filled the air in the area recently.
Residents believe that the odour could be the cause of illnesses in many people who were affected.
Many pointed fingers at a local waste management company, and created social media pages to have the site shut down.

However, Dean Thompson, CEO of EnviroServ responded to the allegations and said that the company responded immediately once they became aware of the Hillcrest odour issue.

“EnviroServ initiated a meeting with community members from Plantations Estate, Hillcrest, Windsor Park and surrounding areas. A representative working group which includes community representatives, municipal officials, air quality specialists and an independent health consultant was established to determine the source of the odours and the associated health impacts experienced in the greater Hillcrest area.

“EnviroServ acknowledged that the site might be contributing to the odour problem. In tackling this uniquely complex challenge the Working Group decided to rely on the science-based work of experts.”

In addition to the air quality specialist appointed by EnviroServ - GeoZone Environmental - the company agreed to fund the appointment by the community of Golder Associates to represent community interests.

Following extensive research, the air quality specialists presented their findings to the Working Group on 27 July. Based on available data they concluded that:

. a leachate storage tank at the Shongweni landfill site has been contributing to the odours experienced;

. it is unlikely that emissions from the Shongweni landfill site are the sole source of malodour in the area, or the sole cause of the recent odour complaints by the wider Hillcrest residents; and

. the level of contaminants thus far sampled in the community cannot be responsible for the chronic health effects being reported.

He said that the company accepts the findings of the specialists.
“My company is implementing corrective actions to reduce the odours emanating from the leachate tank. These actions include an ozone-based oxidation process as an additional treatment for the leachate, and covering the leachate collection tank.

“We have invited the Working Group to monitor our corrective actions. We anticipate an immediate and significant reduction in emissions from our site once these actions have been completed. The fact that the appointed experts have identified other sources that impact negatively on air quality may, however, mean that the community will continue to experience malodours.”

Other potential sources, Thompson said, as identified by the independent specialists, include the multi-fuel pipeline, various municipal waste-water treatment plants and pump stations, as well as other agricultural and industrial activities.

“We sincerely regret any inconvenience caused and assure [residents] that we are taking all necessary steps to mitigate our contribution to the malodours experienced by the community.
“We thank members of the Working Group for their guidance and for their participation in this project and also the wider community that continued to monitor and report odours,” added Thompson.

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