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NOISY NEIGHBORS: Southfork Residents At Odds With USA Metal

Posted: March 18, 2012 at 5:29 a.m.

Holli Sublette is the president of the Southfork III Property Owners Association in Lowell. An earthen berm, seen behind Sublette on Feb. 29 is being built to try and suppress sounds coming from USA Metal Recycling during operating hours. (Inset) A loader at the USA Metal Recycling facility gets ready to deposit a truck onto the conveyor into the shredder Feb. 29 in Lowell.

USA Metal workers processing a Chevrolet Suburban early in the morning of Jan. 4 told a state investigator they failed to find a propane tank in the car before putting it through the shredder.

TIMELINE

Neighborhood Complaints

Below are complaints from Lowell residents since July to the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality regarding the USA Metal Recycling site near the Southfork neighborhood. None of the complaints resulted in violations or fines, although the department forwarded the Jan. 4 complaint to the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration for investigation.

  • July 11: Smoke and odor

  • Oct. 19: Odor, dust, black smoke, explosions

  • Nov. 2: Odor, noise, explosions and smoke; chemicals leaking into the ground water

  • Jan. 4: Explosion and odors

  • Jan. 13: Six explosions since Dec. 21, and the smell of burning rubber

  • Jan. 24: White-like dust coming from metal shredder

  • Feb. 9: Explosion with fallout

  • Feb. 13: Concerns about air quality and a burning smell

  • Feb. 22: Black smoke and odor

Source: Arkansas Department Of Environmental Quality

FAST FACTS

Report, Recommendations

Below are the report and recommendations from the Community-USA Metal Committee to the Planning Commission:

  • Explosions are still a concern. The committee advises the city to continue to investigate and to follow code enforcement procedures when explosions or loud bangs occur.

  • Actions are being taken by USA Metal Recycling to decrease noise.

  • The company continues to work to satisfy complaints and has purchased a decibel meter in an effort to address noise complaints.

  • The company is beginning installation of a zero-bleed system that will potentially decrease or eliminate airborne debris from the metal shredder.

Source: City Of Lowell

WEB WATCH

Correspondence, Full Complaint Reports

Visit nwaonline.com/usametal to see correspondence between the Lowell Planning Commission and Tom Smith and a timeline of complaints with links to full reports.

AT A GLANCE

A committee of four Southfork residents, four Lowell planning commissioners and four USA Metal Recycling representatives has been set up to resolve the dispute between the neighborhood and company. The Community-USA Metal Committee is set to present its findings to the planning commission April 19.

Source: Staff Report

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