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Hillcrest Industries

Site Address: 40 Favor Street, Attica, NY

Update from 4/27/15: Hillcrest Industries Inc. was required by Order on Consent to submit a new Air State Facility permit application to reflect the current operations and equipment at the facility. Schedule A of the Order includes operational requirements and the submission of emission minimization plans. These include monitoring stockpiles for dust, storing fine screenings in containers, inspecting and repairing material conveying systems and emission control equipment, monitoring emission points for visible emissions, and keeping the grinding room under a negative pressure. The emission minimization plans for the above include monitoring, recordkeeping and reporting requirements as well.

The Air State Facility permit application was reviewed and determined to be administratively and technically complete. A Notice of Complete Application has been issued which will start a 30 day comment period for the draft Air State Facility permit. The comment period is expected to begin on April 29th. The application and draft permit are available for review at DEC's Region 9 Buffalo office located at 270 Michigan Avenue, Buffalo, NY 14203. The draft permit may also be viewed on DEC's website.

Update from 4/9/13: Under the terms of a Consent Order, Hillcrest Industries will establish a $100,000 fund to be used for an Environmental Benefit Project (EBP) in the Village of Attica and will undertake a number of pollution control measures for violations of state environmental standards over the past year. The Order requires Hillcrest to reduce facility emissions, comply with a remedial schedule, fund environmental monitoring services to be performed by a third party contractor and designate an employee as an on-site Environmental Compliance Officer. The Order also prohibits Hillcrest from accepting additional coal slag and requires that all materials on site be properly processed and stored. An additional $300,000 penalty is suspended, provided Hillcrest is timely in complying with the Order and adheres to the remedial schedule. Hillcrest Industries manufactures abrasive blasting media and recycled glass material at its facility in the Village of Attica, Wyoming County.

See news release for additional details. A copy of the Consent Order is available by clicking on the "Hillcrest Consent Order" in the right hand column of this page under the heading "Important Links."

Update from 3/11/13: As of the first of the year, the following improvements have been made at the Hillcrest Facility in response to DEC's Division of Water (DOW) requirements and the company's interim stormwater pollution prevention plan (SWPPP):

  • The dewatered south and west staging ponds were enlarged and discharge filtering dams constructed to create sedimentation/filter basins. This was done in accordance with appropriate stormwater design manuals and NYS Standards for Erosion and Sediment Control. The site is graded to direct runoff from the area south of the buildings through the sedimentation/filter basins. Filter dams have been installed at all stormwater inlets and outlets at the side and rear of the property.
  • The facility conducts inspections and maintenance at each stormwater control structure a minimum of twice per month.

Update from 2/21/13: The week of February 6, 2013 Hillcrest installed and is now using a new particulate filter unit on glass bead furnace #2. An identical particulate filter unit is in place and should be installed on glass bead furnace #1 by the end of February. These new filters will further reduce the particulate emissions from the glass bead furnaces 90-95%. Emission testing will evaluate the effectiveness of the particulate controls on the furnaces. Comments on the January 16, 2013 revision of the emission testing protocol were provided to the stack tester and a revised protocol will be submitted. An access door on furnace 2 that was leaking glass beads has been sealed. The glass feed system to the furnaces is inspected twice a day and documented in a log. Any problems are addressed promptly. Staff haven't observed visible emissions from either furnace since the end of 2012.

No visible emissions from the gray baghouse that filters air from the grinding room have been observed since it resumed operating. The bucket elevator and screener that are on the roof outside and feed glass to the drier in the grinding room are inspected twice a day and the findings are documented. Leaks are repaired promptly and the leaked material is cleaned up as the winter weather allows. On February 13th, some wet fractured glass was on the roof near the screener. The glass was swept up on February 18th.

All of the oversized material screened from the glass, plastic and paper piles on the back of the property has been trucked off site. Staff continue to inspect the facility about three times a month and have not smelled any odors on or off the site. On February 13th and 20th particles from the slag pile were observed on the snow on the Hillcrest property. We are working with Hillcrest to minimize fugitive particles from the slag pile. The existing piles of materials have been identified and labeled.

Negotiations on the draft consent order continue. Although the order has not been signed yet, Hillcrest has already started work on a number of measures that will be required under the order.

Update from 1/03/13: In response to a complaint two dust samples were collected off residential exterior window sills on November 9, 2012 and were sent to Albany to be analyzed. We are awaiting results. A preliminary analysis of the samples by the Region 9 staff found particles from Hillcrest along with wood pieces, plant materials and road dust similar to that found in past samples. Region 9 staff had additional discussions with Hillcrest on the fallout issue and, with our input, changes were made to plant operations that appear to have significantly reduced fallout in the community. Hillcrest is now controlling emissions from the entire glass and grit grinding building by keeping it under negative pressure and venting the emissions to the gray baghouse. Hillcrest has repaired the gray baghouse and conducted a black light test that passed. Hillcrest inspects the baghouse daily and the glass and grit conveying systems twice a day. They committed to repair any leaks immediately or shutdown operations until repairs can be made. Region 9 staff inspect Hillcrest frequently and confirmed that Hillcrest is following through on the maintenance and repairs.

Four fallout samplers were set out for a week and collected on December 19, 2012 to evaluate the effectiveness of the operational changes made at Hillcrest. A preliminary review by Region 9 staff found some particulates from Hillcrest in the samples, but much less than previous samples. This indicates that the recent changes made by Hillcrest are effective at reducing the particulates released outside. The December 19th samples were sent to Albany for analysis.

A contractor has screened all of the glass and plastic piles at Hillcrest. The waste material is hauled off site for disposal or recycling and accounts for the increased truck traffic.

Negotiations on the draft consent order continue. Although the order has not been signed yet, Hillcrest has already started work on a number of measures that will be required under the order.

Update from 12/14/12: Hillcrest has separated the undersized and oversized material from 3 of the 4 glass, paper and plastic piles. As of December 12th they had screened 95% of pile #4. Pile #4 is on the footprint of the original large pile. The waste material is hauled off site for disposal or recycling.

The gray baghouse, formerly known as the grit dryer baghouse, was repaired, inspected, black light tested, and allowed to operate after passing the test. Hillcrest now grinds the glass and grit in a room under negative pressure. The negative pressure ensures that dust doesn't escape from the glass and grit grinding room to the outdoors but instead is pulled into the baghouse which collects the particulates. Both glass bead furnaces are operating. Staff continue to inspect Hillcrest.

Negotiations on the draft consent order continue. Although the order has not been signed yet, Hillcrest has already started work on a number of measures that will be required under the order. DEC met with Hillcrest in DEC's offices on November 19 to discuss the draft consent order and Hillcrest's on-going efforts to bring the facility into compliance. DEC sent a revised order to Hillcrest's attorney on December 10.

Update from 11/21/12: Below are responses to submitted questions from the November 1st Public Availability Session and Notices of Violation (NOV):

Questions from the Hillcrest Availability Session
Notices of Violation - Hillcrest (9 page PDF, 195 KB)

Update from 11/20/12: The Region 9 office has received new Hillcrest odor complaints in the last 10 days. Staff inspected the facility on Friday, November 9th and determined that the cause is the enhanced rate of separating the burnt plastic and paper from the glass. A second piece of equipment was operating on site as of Thursday, November 8th, to perform this separation process. The waste material is warm, wet and is releasing an odor as it is being handled. No evidence of smoldering or fire has been detected.

Staff visited the site again on November 14th and did not observe odors off-site. There was a light compost-like odor on pile #1 and about 50 feet downwind of the pile. Garbage or burning odors were not observed. The piles are now about 50% separated and the separated waste has been removed off-site. Because the oversized and undersized materials from the screening process are hauled off-site for disposal or recycling, there will be more truck traffic until the material has been removed.

Update from 11/1/12: Handouts that were available at last week's Public Availability Session are below:

Hillcrest Availability Session Handouts (9 page PDF, 163 KB)

Update from 10/30/12: In an effort to be available to residents of Attica and help address as many questions as possible, DEC is offering the upcoming Availability Session/Open House style meeting this Thursday evening. The session is structured to offer flexibility to attendees (attendees can arrive at any point throughout the session and receive equal opportunity to converse with officials) and is designed to connect individuals with as many officials on various topics pertaining to Hillcrest as possible at once. The evening will include brief opening remarks by Senator Gallivan and will be followed by an open house/availability where residents can speak one on one or in small groups to DEC officials on various topics. Numerous topic stations will be set up throughout the cafeteria, and attendees will have the opportunity to visit stations of their choosing and ask questions or speak with officials at any station. DEC employees from the Division of Air Resources, Division of Materials Management, Environmental Quality, Office of General Counsel, Public Affairs, Wetlands, and Law Enforcement will be present to talk with members of the public. If residents choose, they can also write down the questions they have asked during the evening and submit them for inclusion on a question and answer summary to be posted later on DEC's website. Personal information will not be shared.

Update from 10/24/12: In collaboration with Senator Patrick Gallivan's office, DEC will hold a Public Availability Session on November 1, to answer questions from members of the community regarding the Hillcrest Industries site.

Following a brief overview and introductions, DEC staff will be available throughout the evening to speak to members of the public personally or in a small group. To maximize staff availability and accommodate as many questions as possible, stations on different topics will be set up and members of the community can arrive at anytime throughout the session to meet with staff. Local officials will also be in attendance.

The Public Availability Session will be held:

November 1
6:30 - 8:30 p.m. (You can arrive anytime throughout the session)
Attica High School - Cafeteria
3338 East Main Street
Attica, NY 14011

Update from 10/12/12: DEC is working with Hillcrest to address the particulate emissions that impact the community. Recently, Hillcrest stopped operating the two furnaces and two emission points that vent grit crushing, screening and drying operations while needed repairs to control equipment, and cleaning are performed. Hillcrest has made the necessary changes to one glass bead furnace and, following a DEC inspection, has been authorized to operate the furnace. The second glass bead furnace continues to have repairs made. Once the repairs on the second furnace are completed, DEC will inspect it before Hillcrest commences operation. The indoor grit and glass crushing, screening and drying operations are partially operable at this time. A stack test to demonstrate compliance with the particulate emission limits will be conducted in the near future.

USEPA continues to deal with the waste pile of plastic and glass that is smoldering and regularly updates their web page with information.

Below are air and dust sampling results (PDFs). The first two reports are not new but are being posted on-line for the first time. The first report is a table of results for the daytime VOC sampling DEC performed in August and the night time sample collected by a Village resident, along with a column of Short Term Guidance Values. Prior to this, we have mailed out these results showing the data in ppb. These one hour results are numerically different from what was mailed since they have been converted from ppb units to micrograms per cubic meter units in order to be consistent with the unit of measurement presented in the 24 hour sample results that have been posted by the USEPA. Please note that a 1-hour sample could be much lower or higher during a short sampling period when compared to a 24 hour sampling period at the same location.

The second report is from the first round of particulate sampling collected by staff on July 17, 2012. The third report is the second round of particulate sampling collected by staff on August 30, 2012. The second round of sampling confirmed that Hillcrest particulate emissions from the grit crushing, screening and drying operations and furnaces continue to impact the community. Fractured glass, glassy spheres, slag, and black sooty particulate were noted and were consistent with the material collected at the facility. Approximately 1%-7% of the crushed glass in the residential samples was found to be in the 2.5 to 10 micron range. Considerably more crushed glass and glassy spheres were larger than 10 microns, with some glass particles in excess of 277 microns. By comparison, the width of a human hair is 40 to 120 microns, where a micron is one millionth of a meter.

Air Sampling Results - 8/8/12 (PDF, 55 KB)
Dust Sampling Results - 7/10/12 (42 page PDF, 4.5 MB)
Dust Sampling Results - 8/30/12

Update from 10/4/12: DEC's inspections of Hillcrest's production processes revealed deficiencies in the facility's air pollution control equipment. The company was directed by DEC to correct the deficiencies and make operational changes to reduce particulate emissions. Additional recent inspections by DEC have revealed that Hillcrest has made insufficient progress in this area and we have informed the company that they should not operate their grit dryers, grit grinders or glass bead furnaces until they have fully addressed the air pollution control equipment deficiencies and we have inspected the work. Any continued operation without these required repairs and inspections will result in increased penalties for continuing violations of the Environmental Conservation Law and regulations.

Once the deficiencies are corrected we are also requiring a stack test of the exhaust from both glass furnaces, the grit dryer filter, and the grit grinding filter to evaluate Hillcrest's compliance with particulate matter emission limits in its air permit.

USEPA Press Releases

(see link in the right column under "Links Leaving DEC's Website")

  • 10/15/2012 Fire Extinguished at Hillcrest Industries Work Will Continue to Ensure Piles Do Not Reignite
  • 09/28/2012 EPA Releases Air Data from Hillcrest Industries Fire; Agency Creates New Web Page to Post Information
  • 09/26/2012 EPA's Response to Hillcrest Industries Fire

Update from 9/28/12: USEPA posted 24 hour Air Sample results on their website (see Links Leaving DEC's Website). DEC's one hour nighttime sample is very consistent with EPA's 24 hour samples. The same profiles of contaminants were found in both the DEC nighttime sample and the EPA 24 hour samples. See link below for news released issued today about air sample results.

Update from 9/26/12: USEPA recently took the lead on efforts to extinguish the fire inside the pile of plastic, glass and other materials at the Hillcrest Industries facility. USEPA has consulted with fire suppression experts and determined the best method for putting out the fire is to break up the 40 foot high, one to two acre pile of material into smaller segments and put out the pockets of fire in those sections, extinguishing them with water and, if necessary, foam. This activity, which will begin Saturday, September 29, is likely to produce some intermittent increases in smoke, steam and odors from the facility. Additional details about their efforts are described in a news release issued today (see link to PDF below). In addition, information related to USEPA's efforts and data from the sampling will be posted on their website (see Links Leaving DEC's Website).

Update from 9/21/12: State, federal and local agencies including USEPA, DEC, NYS Department of Health (DOH), Wyoming County Department of Health, the Town and Village of Attica and local Emergency Services held two joint conference calls this week and are working cooperatively to address community concerns related to the Hillcrest site.

A USEPA representative will coordinate agency activities. The first priority is to extinguish smoldering within the pile; a meeting was held on site today to evaluate options. Any work to extinguish smoldering in the pile will be overseen by the various agencies involved. Injections of a water additive utilized for fire suppression are expected to take place early next week. In the interim, Hillcrest will continue with injections of nitrogen/carbon dioxide.

Also this week, injections of a large amount of water into the injection wells this week brought a dramatic reduction in temperature (below 200 degrees F) at the two locations where temperatures exceeded 500 degrees F and 700 degrees F. Hillcrest will continue to monitor the temperature at all wells to determine if the temperature remains below 200 degrees F at those locations.

Hillcrest Industries Fact Sheets

What is Hillcrest Industries? The Hillcrest Industries facility located on Favor Street in Attica processes glass fragments (cullet) into reflective road striping beads and abrasive blast media. The facility also collects boiler slag material (hardened residue collected from off-site coal boilers) and processes it into abrasive blast media (sandblasting materials).

What is the source of the odor? A pile containing glass fragments mixed with plastic, paper and metal generated from household recycling that the plant uses to make sandblasting materials and reflective glass beads is the major source of odors. No new material has been added to the pile since mid-July. At first, the odors in the pile were generated by decaying food residue which is adhered to the glass and plastic. As this waste broke down, it created odor problems. As this activity continued, the material began to heat and smolder. The smoke and smoldering created odors due to the paper and plastic within the pile being consumed.

What is the source of the dust? Hillcrest continues to manufacture reflective glass beads using other stock piles of clean glass. Dust is generated when the boiler slag and glass are ground down to smaller sizes. Most of this dust is captured in dust collectors but some is released into the environment. Dust may also be blown off the facility roadways and the slag pile.

What is Hillcrest doing to address community concerns? To reduce particulate emissions (dust) Hillcrest has repaired leaking process equipment, sealed off broken bag filters, ordered replacement filters, applied a dust suppressant to the facility's roadways, washes truck tires before they exit the facility, and covered some of the piles comprised of fine material with Posi-shell. Hillcrest continues to remove the piles of plastic and paper that have been separated from the glass fragments from the property. Hillcrest implemented several measures in an attempt to reduce odors and to decrease the temperature in the interior of the pile. These measures included an air withdrawal and treatment system (not currently in use), a nitrogen/carbon dioxide injection system, and application of an impermeable Posi-shell cover system. Nine injection wells were installed in the pile and nitrogen/carbon dioxide was injected in an attempt to remove oxygen from the pile and reduce the temperatures in the pile. The temperature of the pile at each injection point is being monitored. Following installation of the Posi-shell cover system on August 31, 2012, injections of nitrogen and later carbon dioxide resumed. Despite these efforts, the temperatures have remained high in two locations and the pile continues to smolder. In one location, the temperature was as high as 750 degrees F but has been has low as 650 degrees F. A second location is in the 500 - 550 degree range. The remaining 6 locations are in the 150 - 225 degree range. Based on the temperatures recorded in the glass, paper and plastic pile and the visual evidence of smoke leaving the pile, we believe that the pile is smoldering as the paper and plastic in the pile are consumed. Hillcrest representatives are currently checking with companies that deal with fire suppression/elimination and are reviewing proposals for implementation in the near future.

What actions has DEC taken? DEC has investigated odor and dust complaints in Attica, and visited the Hillcrest facility on numerous occasions to inspect operations and investigate environmental concerns. In addition, DEC and USEPA have conducted air and dust sampling. New York State and Wyoming County Health Departments have reviewed DEC's sampling results and provided comments which are included in the narrative below. DEC is also in communication with state, county, town, and village officials and area residents concerning Hillcrest, and will continue to provide updates and information as requests are made and as new information becomes available.

EPA Air Sampling
At DEC's request, USEPA sent several representatives to the Hillcrest facility to evaluate the site and conduct air sampling. USEPA placed 10 Summa canisters and five particulate monitors at ten different locations to collect 24 hour samples on Thursday, September 13. The canisters and monitors were collected for analysis on Friday, September 14.

DEC's Community Residential Sampling - Night air sample
A Village resident collected a one-hour ambient air sample for the DEC on August 26th at 9:30 p.m. when the odor was strong. DEC's laboratory analyzed the sample and provided the results for 41 volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Results for some of the contaminants are higher than the day time sampling results that DEC performed, but are still below the SGCs. These data are available upon request. Health symptoms associated with odorous chemicals not captured by the sampling may still occur.

DEC's Residential Sampling - Air
DEC collected four one-hour ambient air samples on August 8, 2012 between 12:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. in response to community concerns about odors and exposure to volatile air contaminants from the Hillcrest facility. See Air Sampling Locations for an aerial map of the sampling locations.

Three samples were collected in the odor plume in the neighborhood downwind from the Hillcrest facility, one of which was at the facility property line. A fourth sample was collected at the Attica High School between the gas well and baseball diamond, approximately 20 yards south of the parking lot. DEC's laboratory analyzed all air samples and provided the results for 41 VOCs. These results were compared to DEC's SGCs since the sample collection was a short period of time. SGC's are used by DEC to ensure that short-term exposures do not cause any significant health effects.

In addition to the 41 VOCs targeted by the sample method, our sampling results identified the presence of odorous chemicals of biogenic origin, such as fatty acid esters. As these decay products are not targeted air contaminants we routinely monitor, concentrations cannot be quantified. People differ in their ability to detect these chemicals by smell, but in some cases the odor thresholds can be very low - down to parts per billion (ppb) levels.

With the exception of one chemical (1,1,1-trichloroethane or 1,1,1-TCA), levels of VOCs detected in the four samples are very low, mostly less than one part per billion, and similar to what's found in typical urban background air. In general, these results do not show a consistent pattern of higher concentrations near the Hillcrest facility and decreasing concentrations moving away from the facility as would be expected if the facility was the main source of these VOCs. For many of the analyzed chemicals, results from the four samples were roughly the same and for several others, results from the two sites between Hillcrest and the school were higher than the Hillcrest and school results. None of the four samples showed any results above DEC's SGC. Two samples had somewhat higher results than typical background for 1,1,1-TCA, but there was not a consistent pattern observed that would suggest a likely 1,1,1-TCA source. Sample analysis reports are available in the Update from 10/12/12 (see top of this page) as well as in the Important Links section in the upper right hand column of this page.

Uncertainties and Limitations
There is a lot of uncertainty with the collection of short-term, one hour samples. Air levels of these chemicals can change quickly, so a single one-hour sample only provides a "snap-shot" of one point in time, and levels could be much different at other times. When DEC conducts these types of air sample collections, they are considered for screening purposes for short-term exposures only. Results from single one-hour samples cannot be used to characterize long-term exposures. Because of the sensitivity of the sampling equipment nearby sources such as lawn mowing, cigarette smoking, residential storage of gasoline will also influence the air sample results. On the day that the samples were taken, the Attica high school appeared to have recently applied asphalt sealer on the school's parking lots and roadways. Asphalt odor was evident while standing in the vicinity of the pavement. Releases of volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds are very common from the application of asphalt sealers and could have influenced these sample results, although high levels of potential asphalt-related compounds were not observed.

In conclusion, the VOC results are generally low and below DEC's SGCs. A clear pattern suggesting emissions of solvent VOCs from the Hillcrest facility, affecting air quality in the adjacent community, was not observed. Air contaminants that are odorous at very low concentrations were observed in the analysis but are not reported in the results because their concentrations cannot be estimated with this method. Overall, the results do not indicate a health concern in the community from increased exposure to industrial solvent chemicals assessed with this sampling method. Nevertheless, acute health symptoms such as headache, nausea and cough could still be expected among residents experiencing persistent strong odors from chemicals not captured in these sampling results.

DEC's Residential Sampling - Dust
DEC collected five dust samples from four residential properties in response to resident's concerns about health risks from exposure to dust releases from the facility. Dust samples were collected July 10-17, 2012. See Dust Sampling Locations for an aerial map of the sampling locations. Eleven samples were collected on site of the facility at specific release points and from raw material and finished product. Matching the types of particles found on the residential properties with the types found onsite of the facility could provide DEC staff with an understanding of which release points need to be better controlled. The samples were submitted to DEC's Microscopy Lab for analysis. The lab determined the composition of the residential dust samples and the size of the particles to evaluate whether the dust could be from operations at the Hillcrest facility.

The microscopy lab found particles in all five of the residential dust samples with similar characteristics as the particles of glass fragments from the facility. The samples collected from the facility contained particles which ranged in size from fine particulate matter (particles 2.5 microns or less in size) to much larger sizes, well above 100 microns with most particles very large in size. By comparison, the width of human hair is 40 to 120 microns, where a micron is one millionth of a meter. Similarly the particles in the residential dust samples which were distinguished as either glass fragments, glass beads or slag fragments were also mostly very large in size, generally 10 microns and larger, but also contained smaller particles in the 2.5 to 10 micron range. The particles found in the residential samples attributable to facility releases appear to be from crushed clear glass that feeds the bead furnace and fines from the glass bead furnace cyclone. In addition to the glass spheres and fractured glass, some slag product was identified. Sample analysis reports are available in the Update from 10/12/12 (see top of this page) as well as in the Important Links section in the upper right hand column of this page.

The residential samples consisted primarily of large particle fragments from the Hillcrest facility. The facility release points for most of the particles found in the residential samples will be controlled through repair of leaking equipment, repairing and/or installing additional air pollution control devices and application of dust suppressant to the raw material piles and to the onsite roadways. DEC will continue to monitor the operations of this facility to ensure our particulate air pollution mitigation strategies are successful.

Enforcement Action
On June 20, 2012 DEC issued a Notice of Violation (NOV) to Hillcrest Industries. This NOV cited the facility for several violations including:

  • Failure to obtain coverage under the Division of Water Multi-Sector General Storm Water Permit
  • Excessive nuisance odors from the property that are adversely impacting the local community
  • Operating a solid waste management facility without a permit
  • Placing fill within 100 feet of a regulated wetland

On July 27, 2012, the Department issued a second NOV to Hillcrest Industries for excessive particulate emissions from the clear glass grinding, the grit (slag and colored glass) grinding, and glass bead furnace #1 processes. DEC's first priority has been to address the pile. DEC will proceed with an enforcement action against Hillcrest Industries once the pile has been satisfactorily addressed. DEC officials have met with Hillcrest representatives to discuss agency and community concerns and are continuing to work with Hillcrest to address concerns identified.

Who to Contact

Comments and questions are always welcome and should be directed as follows:

Project Related Questions:
Michael Emery, Division of Air Resources
270 Michigan Ave
Buffalo, NY 14203-2915

Site-Related Health/Respiration Questions:
Steve Perkins
Wyoming County Director of Environmental Health
5362A Mungers Mill Rd
Silver Springs, NY 14550

Air and Dust Sampling Locations

Dust sampling locations
Dust sampling locations
Air sampling locations
Air sampling locations

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