Odor hotline set up for complaints against treatment plant
Strong mildew-like smell rankles residents in Jefferson Twp.
By Samantha Wildow - Staff Writer


A phone hotline has been set up to report health concerns or foul odors coming from an industrial treatment plant in Jefferson Twp.

Residents have complained to Jefferson Twp. for two months about the plant, which has faced scrutiny from the U.S. EPA and the neighborhood over the last two decades under previous owners.

The neighbors have cited strong mildew-like smells coming from the plant at 300 Cherokee Drive.

The treatment facility, recently cited by Dayton’s Regional Air Pollution Control Agency (RAPCA), was acquired by a new company in January, and neighbors want the new company to be “a good neighbor.”

“We have some concerns about odors that have been released recently,” said Laura Rench of the Jefferson Twp. Neighborhood Environmental Committee, which promoted the hotline Tuesday with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality.

Monroe-based Valicor Environmental Services purchased the plant and about 33 parcels of residentialand industrial-zoned land for nearly $2.5 million, Montgomery County property records show. The plant is off West Third Street near Dayton’s Drexel area.

The Dayton Daily News reached out to Valicor Environmental Services.

RAPCA issued a “notice of violation” to the previous owner, Clean Water Environmental, on Dec. 21, 2022 for a hole found in the duct work of an air pollution control device used to control potentially hazardous compounds from releasing from the facility, according to Public Health-Dayton and Montgomery County.

Tuesday, the local group of concerned residents promoted the odor hotline, which is 937-268-0522, encouraging residents who smell an odor to call that number to notify RAPCA, who can work with the company to pinpoint potential issues.

“The sooner you call, the faster the regulators can get out here,” Rench said. She said they have reached out to Valicor about their concerns and are working on setting up a meeting with representatives of the company.

Rench also said the company needs to do more.

“For years, this neighborhood has been subjected to hazardous air pollutants and terrible smells that do affect the quality of life and health. It has been going on for decades.

This community has suffered for too long,” she said.

Jefferson Twp. trustee Sheila Back said residents reported strong odors in January and February. Back said she smelled the odor near a daycare center, saying it smelled like mildew.

“When I walk my dog in my neighborhood, I smell smells from this building,” said Marian Perry, a lifelong resident of Jefferson Twp. “It’s not something somebody would want to smell.”

Residents said they were concerned about the foul smell, as well as potential hazards from the odor.

Cindy Everetts-Lawson said she purchased her home in the area recently for the wraparound porch, but she hasn’t been able to enjoy it due to concerns about the air.

“I have 16 grandchildren, and I don’t want them to come here,” Everetts-Lawson said.

Chrisondra Goodwine, administrator for Jefferson Twp., said the residents in the area cannot escape the odors.

“They cannot escape it because it’s airborne,” Goodwine said. “It harms not only the economic development, it harms the quality of life.”

Eileen Moran, RAPCA senior manager, said the last complaint her agency received about the industrial plant was over the weekend. Moran said once a complaint is received over the odor hotline, the plant investigates and sends a report to RAPCA and the Ohio EPA.

“We decide if we need to do our own onsite investigation,” Moran said. An investigation from RAPCA would take place if the internal investigation from the facility turned up issues, or if there were a large number of complaints or a particularly unusual odor, she said.

“It is normal for this facility to have odors under normal operating conditions,” Moran said.

The plant processes industrial waste streams, such as oily wastewater, and they repackage those materials to resell them, Moran said.

She said RAPCA is at the site once or twice per month to check on operations.

“We do take the odor complaints seriously,” Moran said.

“We don’t have anything that indicates that they’re not doing everything they’re supposed to.”

The previous owner of the plant, Clean Water Environmental, operated under consent orders from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that were agreed to in 2007 and amended in 2018, Montgomery County previously said.

The plant, once known as Perma-Fix of Dayton and then Clean Water Ltd., is in a residential area, and previous neighbors complained for years about strong odors and fumes they said caused nausea, headaches, dizziness and breathing problems.

The December 2007 consent decree was reached to settle a federal lawsuit against Perma-Fix filed by neighbors and joined by the U.S. EPA.

Clean Water Ltd. bought the plant shortly after the consent decree was approved.

That wasn’t the only controversy involving the plant.

A grassroots neighborhood group mounted a campaign that in 2003 resulted in the U.S. Army canceling a contract with Perma-Fix for treatment of up to 900,000 gallons of neutralized VX nerve agent to be discharged into the Montgomery County sewer system.

Staff writer Thomas Gnau contributed to this report.


To report a health concern or odor, call 937-268-0522.