Procex cleans air after violation

Heather Vitale

Plant’s emissions were ‘obnoxious’

Residents around Middlebury Road may be relieved from the pungent smell that has been creeping around the past few months. After being threatened with a fine of $25,000 a day, Procex Ltd., located at 880 Cherry St., is cleaning up its act.

Russ Risley, air quality engineer for Akron Regional Air Quality Management District, said Procex sent its initial response to the notice of violation on Sept. 15. The response stated that the company acknowledged the fact it was in violation.

A second letter was sent on Oct. 21 and said the company was having difficulties obtaining financing for the repairs from the bank.

Risley said Procex has made some small improvements to the way it handles emissions.

“The only change they state they’ve made is they improved their work practice to limit emissions,” Risley said. “No details as to what that means.”

Risley said every Monday the company discusses emissions control with its employees, but Procex has not yet purchased the equipment it needs to capture emissions.

“It’s getting to that time of year when complaints will cease,” Risley said. “The windows will close up. We haven’t received many complaints this year, maybe one or two.”

The original notice of violation for the emissions was sent to Procex on Aug. 25, and the company had until Sept. 15 to respond to the notice. Residents of Middlebury Road complained about the smell and wanted something done.

Sean Barringer, of Middlebury Road, said Procex was doing “something funky.”

“It’s putting off an obnoxious odor,” Barringer said. “Smells like the nauseating scent of burning rubber. They need to acknowledge there’s a problem and come up with a plan of action to do something.”

Risley is in the process of drafting up an enforcement action request, a document that states all of the violations against Procex. The request will be sent down to the main headquarters in Columbus, The Division of Air Pollution Control. The DAPC is part of the Ohio Environmental Protection Agency.

“They take over there and take over the actual enforcement case,” Risley said. “It’s now pretty much out of our hands.”

Risley said after a certain point in this case, the DAPC would issue findings, the amount due for payment and orders to Procex. There will be no more inspections done by the Akron Regional Air Quality Management unless issued by the DAPC.

Contact public affairs reporter Heather Vitale at [email protected].