Residents of Jersey City’s Society Hill testifying in federal suit against recycling plant over ‘putrid’ odor


Residents of Jersey City’s Society Hill are testifying in an ongoing federal lawsuit filed against a Newark recycling plant that has been producing a “putrid” odor.

Darling Ingredients, Inc. in Newark. Photo courtesy of the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office.

By John Heinis/Hudson County View

The AG’s office, along with the state Department of Environmental Protection, filed a complaint against Darling Ingredients Inc. back in September 2019, a facility that that recycles animal by-products and grease into materials like feed and fuel ingredients.

“Newark residents have filed numerous odor complaints regarding the facility, including ‘putrid’ odors and ‘animal carcass odors,’ and DEP concluded that the odors result from Darling’s operations. DEP also found these odors to interfere with affected residents’ enjoyment of life and property,” their complaint says.

While the complaint focused on the impact in the Brick City, Society Hill faced the same problems, as noted by a September 3rd, 2019 letter written by Ward A Councilwoman Denise Ridley.

The letter was addressed to the DEP, Hudson Regional Health Commission, Newark Mayor Ras Baraka, Jersey City Mayor Steven Fulop, and Newark East Ward Councilman Augusto Amador.

About six weeks later, October 18th, 2019, James and Manuela Sines filed a lawsuit in New Jerseys’ U.S. District Court, claiming “there are 100 or more Class Members and the aggregate amount in controversy exceeds five million dollars exclusive of interests and costs.”

Then, on June 16th, 2020, Ridley asked for an update from the state, prompting an August 28th, 2020, NJ DEP Bureau of Air Compliance and Enforcement Manager Jeffrey Meyer said that the state and Darling had entered into a judicial consent order in February of that same year.

“[This] requires Darling to undertake a number of measures to reduce odors, ranging from general housekeeping measures to installation of new and upgrading of existing odor control equipment,” he wrote.

“These equipment upgrades are not yet in place and undergoing permitting review. Darling has also agreed to undertake various measures to reduce odors as outlined in an Odor Control Plan that identifies sources of odor within the facility and measures that can be taken to reduce those odors.”

He also noted that Advance Enterprise Recycling, which Ridley had mentioned as a possible cause of the odor in 2019, had been cited for violating the Air Pollution Control Act three times between September and December.

“If your constituents continue to experience odors that are unreasonably affecting them, they should call the Department’s Environmental Hotline, which is staffed 24 hours daily, 7 days per week, at 877-927-6337 (877-WARN DEP),” he added.

“The Department’s Northern Air Compliance and Enforcement Office or the Hudson Regional Health Commission through our County Environmental Health Act (CEHA) agreement will endeavor to investigate each complaint.”

Furthermore, a letter obtained by HCV shows that subpoenas to testify at a deposition in the civil trial began going out in January, which is corroborated by a letter to the court from Steven Rossenwasser, counsel for Darling in the case.

“Per the parties’ agreement, Darling has served a second round of subpoenas on certain absent class members who provided Plaintiffs’ counsel with a signed written statement in this case,” he wrote.

“As with the first set of subpoenas, some of the subpoenaed witnesses attended their depositions, while others did not. Given that numerous subpoenaed witnesses failed to attend their depositions, Darling is about to serve a third set of subpoenas containing a deposition date of April 28.”

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  1. We have been residing in Society Hill 1 since 1995 and we have been smelling that foul odor since then.
    We demand that this Darling company compensates us, long time Residents of SH who have endured smelling their wastes.