Neptune City’s largest business will reportedly spend an estimated $500,000 in a further effort to reduce odors at its plant on West Sylvania Avenue.
Officials of TFH Nylabone told Mayor Andrew Wardell that a previously installed odor scrubbing solution had not performed as well as expected.
“Spending an additional $500,000 when you don’t have to shows that you are making an effort,” the mayor said.
Wardell said at the Borough Council meeting earlier this week that TFH told him the new equipment will be in place by Memorial Day.
Residents of Neptune City and nearby towns have complained for years about the occasional foul smell emitted by the plant.
Wardell, who was sworn in as mayor on Jan. 1, said he will follow up with TFH on its latest initiative and the ongoing odor problem.
The mayor noted that TFH has not been served with notice of the violation of any laws. As a manufacturer of pet food products, TFH is monitored by the federal Food and Drug Administration. The state Department of Environmental Protection oversees some aspects of plant operation. On a local level, the Monmouth County Board of Health has jurisdiction over the plant as far as odors are concerned.
At the meeting, several residents said that health department employees have not been cooperative when reports about odors are phoned in.
Christine Oppegaard said that health board workers were “getting defensive and annoyed” when contacted about the issue.
Wardell, a member of the county board of health, said he will reach out to county officials in his capacity as mayor to discuss the concerns of residents.
During discussions at council meetings about the problem last year, former borough attorney Greg Cannon urged residents to consider taking legal action on their own since the borough was already utilizing every allowable method to address the situation.
The Neptune City Homeowners Association was formed last year to discuss the TFH issue and other matters facing the borough. To date, the group has not initiated any legal action but members continue to press their concerns with the council.
Association president Kelly Strazdas urged the council at this week’s meeting to take steps aimed at averting environmental problems by providing advice and expertise to the borough’s Land Use Board before they vote on important applications.
“It’s not just TFH, it’s about the future,” she said.
While TFH is primarily a publisher of books aboout pets, its Nylabone division manufactures dog treats and similar items. According to the Nylabone web site, the treats include ingredients such ss beef, turkey, chicken, lamb and venison.
Before it was given permission to expand its plant several years ago, TFH, which is owned by Central Garden and Pet Co. of Walnut Creek, Calif., made assurances to the land use board and the council that there would be no further odor problems.