Industrial stench still offends after 20 years

Resident Steve Jordan makes a point to EPA Hunter manager Adam Gilligan at Wednesday night’s meeting. Picture: Stuart ScottMORE than 50 Rutherford residents demanded to know why a combination of industrial odours still haunted their homes after 20 years of complaints when they met top officials from the Environment Protection Authority on Wednesday night.
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The residents attended a community information night put on by the EPA to explain the problems and to outline progress.

And while EPA Hunter manager Adam Gilligan told the group he understood their frustration, he said the combination of odours from different sources – and the difficulties people had in identifying the smells – meant the problem remained.

“This is an issue we have been struggling with for quite a period of time,” Mr Gilligan told the meeting.

He said the EPA had received 90 complaints from Rutherford residents about offensive odours since April: 14 in that month, 22 in May, 36 in June and 18 in the past week alone.

“We have had a spike of complaints in the last month or so, and there are still a lot of complaints we are getting,” he said.

But he also complimented some industries who had worked to improve matters, without being consulted.

“We know we haven’t solved the problem – there are still issues here and we need to do more work on it,” he said.

Asthma sufferer Ramona Cocco said: “I have been ringing up about smells for the past 20 years – I don’t think I have another 20 years left to complain about this,” she said.

“Surely someone can do something about this problem – or we will all die off before we know what we’re dying from.”

Resident Peter Murphy said the smells were far stronger at night and in the early morning.”

Mr Gilligan told the residents EPA was working hard to resolve the problem.

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