Common questions arise about what Aluf is doing to resolve odor issues in Orangeburg and these FAQs should answer your key questions.
What is Aluf doing to resolve odor issues in Orangeburg?
Aluf is investigating the air emission controls at its own facility in accordance with a scope of work that has been formulated with the input of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and approved by the NYS DEC. If any issues are found, these issues will be resolved by the company as quickly as possible. However, the NYS DEC has identified other sources in the Town and the industrial area surrounding Aluf that better correlate with odor complaints in the community.
To help with this investigation, the company hired an independent environmental health and safety consulting firm to assess the conditions at the facility in accordance with the approved scope of work and to confirm that Best Management Practices are being followed.
What are the findings from Aluf’s engineers?
To date, the engineers have reported to Aluf the following preliminary findings:
- The carbon filtration for odor elimination is being operated as designed.
- Measurements of air flows and pressures have been made and an analysis is being undertaken. The results of the analysis will enable engineers to determine whether the filtration configuration is optimal.
- All internal ductwork has been inspected as part of the study. During such inspections, the few components discovered to be in need of repair or replacement were addressed.
- The air management systems are being maintained and records kept as required.
What is the best way to make a report about odor?
Aluf has set up an email account (firstname.lastname@example.org) to receive input from the community concerning complaints of unacceptable odors. The system allows for and intends the correlation of odor complaints in the community with Aluf's activities at the time of the complaint. Several odor complaints have been logged through the email server.
What does Aluf do with an emailed odor report?
At the time of each complaint, Aluf dispatches personnel to:
- Identify the operations at the facility and to assess whether such operations are likely to contribute to the complaint,
- Tour the property to determine if the odors referenced in the complaint originate from the facility, and
- Tour the neighborhood to ascertain whether detectible odors may be emanating from sources other than Aluf.
How can Aluf be sure the odors are not coming from its plant?
Aluf is performing its investigation to see if it is contributing to odors in Orangeburg. However, to date, Aluf has found minimal correlation between odor complaints in the community and emissions from the Aluf facility. It has, however, identified other sources in the Town and the industrial area surrounding Aluf that better correlate with odor complaints in the community. We have communicated these findings to the NYS DEC.
Why is Aluf working with the NYS DEC?
The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) is the premier source for regulation and standards in our industry in New York State.
Is Aluf emitting any volatile organic compounds from its plant?
Aluf has requested from the NYS DEC, and it has agreed to provide to Aluf, the results of studies conducted by the NYS DEC. In the meantime, it’s been communicated to Aluf that these studies that were undertaken by the NYS DEC have not revealed any releases of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) into the air that are attributable to Aluf.
What is polyethylene?
Polyethylene is one of the safest and most commonly processed plastics in the world. The polymer has been in wide commercial use since the 1950s.
Aluf uses virgin (new) polyethylene as raw material, which we receive in the form of solid pellets. We also reuse our own reprocessed scrap to reduce waste (more on that below).
Is polyethylene hazardous?
Polyethylene is an inert and chemically neutral material that is not considered hazardous.
Aluf uses both high- and low-density polyethylene in its products, both of which are rated among the safest for consumer applications.
Thorough testing and evaluation have proven polyethylene to pose very low risk when used as intended, and it is not regulated during transportation or in the workplace.
How is polyethylene processed?
Aluf uses a very common processing method known as “blown film extrusion” to convert our raw material – those polyethylene beads – into plastic films that ultimately become our line of products.
In early stages of the process, the beads are heated to temperatures high enough to melt them down. No material is incinerated at any point of the process. Once in its molten state, the polymer is extruded (pushed through) a die, cooled slightly and then blown up like a balloon to create a designated thickness. When deflated, the resulting film can be cut, shaped and seamed into our bags, liners, and other products.
Does Aluf’s manufacturing process create waste products?
Blown film extrusion is an extremely economical process designed to yield little waste. The small amount of solid waste byproduct we do generate is delivered in sealed containers to certified reprocessors or disposal units approved by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
You might be surprised to learn that the packing materials in which we receive our polyethylene pellets – which includes cardboard packaging and wood pallets – amount to more waste than the actual byproducts of processing our raw materials.
No liquid waste whatsoever is discharged during our process. Water used in the plant is recycled in a closed system, which either cools or heats the water depending on the needs of the process.
How does Aluf handle waste? Do you recycle?
Aluf takes environmental stewardship very seriously. All waste is handled responsibly and in strict accordance with government regulations.
100 percent of the shipping materials in which we receive our raw materials – cardboard packaging, wood pallets, and plastic film included – are recycled. We also recycle all spent oils used in the operation and maintenance of our machinery.
As noted above, we collect all of our scrap plastics to have them reprocessed by certified professionals, and then returned to us for reuse in our own facility.
What little solid waste remains is properly contained, sealed, and transferred to a certified disposal unit.
Who oversees Aluf’s waste management?
Aluf works closely with The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (NYS DEC) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Both agencies pay regularly scheduled and unannounced visits to our facility to inspect every aspect of our waste management program.
What kind of safety training and inspections occur at Aluf?
Every Aluf employee undergoes a rigorous safety training program before he/she is permitted to assume their role in plant operations. Specialized training is conducted for individuals whose roles require it. If an employee assumes a new role, they receive new safety training. Up-to-date training and training documentation are required for every employee, and Aluf managers uphold strict company standards in maintaining both.
Similar to our inspections by the NYS DEC and EPA, Aluf is also subject to scheduled and unscheduled visits from the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). Together, these agencies’ reviews cover all aspects of our plant operations and maintenance.