Representatives say amended permit won't affect DEQ restrictions
By Alex Bridges
WOODSTOCK - A rendering plant in Shenandoah County shouldn't put its state permits at risk by taking material from another supplier, according to county officials.
The Board of Supervisors this week unanimously approved a request by Mountain View Rendering Company to amend its special-use permit to allow its facility at 173 Rocco Road, Edinburg, to accept material from a George's Chicken plant near Harrisonburg. Mountain View operates near a George's Chicken facility.
Plant representatives say the amended permit in the county would not affect the DEQ restrictions.
"Even with the expanded operation it is my understanding that they'll still be under the cap that they're required by the DEQ," said Brandon Davis, director of community development for the county.
The Planning Commission had endorsed Mountain View's request to amend the permit originally issued to the plant in 1986, which limited the facility's suppliers of material. Mountain View also operates under a permit issued by the Virginia Department of Environmental Quality that limits how much material it can process per day.
Woodstock attorney Jay Neal, representing Mountain View, told the board the DEQ maintains strict regulations on the plant.
"They can shut you down in a heartbeat," Neal said.
Supervisor David Ferguson recalled that county officials and the Planning Commission toured the Mountain View facility, of which they gave a "glowing review."
Smells were contained within the facility, Ferguson said. But the supervisors noted that neighbors complained about the smell, later discovered to be coming from George's.
Several neighbors of the rendering plant spoke at the public hearing held by the commission with the Board of Supervisors present and asked that the county deny the request. Speakers claimed the plant generates a strong odor through the rendering process. They also complained that trucks hauling material to the facility often took the narrower back roads around their neighborhood rather than using Va. 42, which they claim is better designed for large vehicles. Other residents expressed fear that expanding the suppliers would result in increased truck traffic and thus more dangerous traveling conditions in the neighborhood.
Mountain View General Manager Robert Forry told the board that plant officials have addressed the issue of truck drivers taking roads other than Va. 42 to deliver material.
Supervisors also brought up the fact that George's Chicken recently violated the DEQ-issued permit for its wastewater treatment facility that also serves Mountain View. In response to a board member's question, a Mountain View representative said their plant and the George's Chicken facility have protocols in place to alert the rendering company when wastewater treatment issues develop.
Ferguson expressed concern with George's permit violation.
"The rendering plant isn't going to shut down. Maybe they would if there's a problem with George's and maybe they would if they know that ... How do you address that?" he asked.
Neal replied: "Communication."
But Neal also noted that, per a Mountain View representative, George's didn't notify the rendering plant of the problem with the wastewater treatment facility. Now, an action plan is in place through which George's contacts Mountain View in the event of an emergency to let the rendering plant know whether its wastewater treatment facility can continue to take material, or if it must stop.
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org