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Settlement eases concerns about asphalt plant, but not everyone happy

Spring Valley residents have scored another victory in a fight with a nearby asphalt plant, but not everyone is happy.

Last week, construction company Wells Cargo agreed to install an odor control system by September as part of a settlement with Clark County.

The settlement resolved five odor-related violations the county’s department of air quality issued between January and May. Those violations stemmed from dozens of complaints submitted by residents who live near the plant at West Spring Mountain Road near South Durango Drive.

Clark County Department of Air Quality director Marci Henson said the settlement should reduce the number of complaints.

“We’re really hoping it allows Wells Cargo to continue its operations while also serving the public’s interests by reducing the odors with the plants,” she said.

Still, some residents aren’t satisfied. They complain that the plant’s operations send dust into the air and that they have suffered respiratory problems because of it.

“It’s nice they’re getting this (odor control) equipment, but this is really such a small part of the problem,” said resident Ron Hawkins. “The major part of the problem is the dust. People are inhaling this small particulate matter, and that’s really unhealthy.”

Henson said the county remains committed to investigating complaints, but she noted that the plant is not a “zero emissions” facility.

“Under the law they’re allowed to have some dust emissions,” she said. “It’s a matter of making sure they are keeping dust within their permitted levels.”

Wells Cargo vice president of construction Trent Scarlett also pledged his commitment to the community.

“Wells Cargo’s facility will continue to comply with environmental and air quality regulations, including those related to dust,” he wrote in an email. “Wells Cargo’s community awareness includes using water trucks and truck sweepers on the public right-of-ways as well as other on-site controls.”

Second victory

The reduction in odors will be the second victory Henry and other residents have scored this year.

Wells Cargo wanted to build a second asphalt mixing plant on its 142-acre property, but withdrew plans to do so in January after Clark County Comprehensive Planning determined the company was only entitled to one permanent plant.

The company opened the plant in the 1960s, when much of the surrounding land was not in use. Today, however, the property is surrounded by homes. Spring Valley High School is only a few blocks to the south.

Settlement stipulations

Clark County and asphalt company Wells Cargo reached a deal that would reduce fines and the amount odor emitted by the plant in Spring Valley. Here are the details:

The county sought $38,000 in fines for the odor violations, but the settlement reduced that amount to $5,000 and did not require an admission of error.

Wells Cargo estimates the cost of designing and installing its new odor control system will cost $900,000 to $1 million.

A limit on how many asphalt loading trucks Wells Cargo can have in its facility’s staging area, and how long those trucks will be allowed to idle. Trucks that are loaded with hot asphalt will need to be immediately covered to stifle the smell.

Contact Michael Scott Davidson at sdavidson@reviewjournal.com or 702-477-3861. Follow @davidsonlvrj on Twitter.

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