Manager: Smoke from glass fire posed no danger

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Claims no worse than ‘smoking a cigarette’

If a tornado tore through the industrial park glass pile at Dlubak Glass Co., operations manager Tim Hostetler said, it’d be a disaster.
It’d also be a disaster if a tornado came through Lawrenceburg and picked up rocks, cars or trees, he said.
“If a natural disaster happens, it happens,” Hostetler said. “Look at Oklahoma — you get a 2-mile wide tornado, it’s going to tear up everything.”
Hostetler, who has been the operations manager of Dlubak Glass Co. for the last 12 years, spoke to the city council regarding their concerns about the recycling plant’s large glass pile, as well as the May 3 industrial park fire, during last Thursday’s work session.
During the May council meeting councilman Bobby Durr requested Mayor Edwinna Baker add discussion about the recycling plant’s glass pile to the May 30 work session, which was later rescheduled and held June 6.
“I just think it’s a concern for the people and the city of Lawrenceburg,” Durr said at the May 13 meeting when asked why he’d like to address the recycling company’s glass pile. “If that [the industrial park fire] could happen on a small scale, it could happen on a big scale.”
Regarding environmental and health concerns following the May 3 fire, Hostetler said, smoke may have affected an individual’s upper respiratory system in the same way smoking a cigarette would.
“There was never any danger smoke-wise to the public,” he said.
As the fire burned, Hostetler said he contacted an environmental company out of Little Rock, Ark., to come up and test the air.
But because the fire was put out quickly — Hostetler said he anticipated the fire burning for at least a week —Environmental Response Team coordinator David Leo told Hostetler that testing was no longer necessary.
“Basically what they were going to do is set up test stations 8 miles outside of the city and they going to test the air,” Hostetler said in a phone interview Friday morning following the work session.
Hostelter said the newspaper and news media got it all wrong: the hazardous chemicals they were talking about being produced as a result of the burning polyvinyl butyral was minimal.
Those chemical vapors were in parts per million, Hostetler said. Both the EPA and the fire department deemed there were no harmful chemicals being released as a result of the fire, he said.
In a phone interview Friday following the work session, Hostetler said the glass recycling company did not collect and test the smoke to determine what that parts per million ratio was.   
In a May 8 article about the industrial fire in The Anderson News, the newspaper cited a 2010 materials data sheet from DuPont stating the polyvinyl, when burned, could produce “carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and complex hydrocarbon oxidation products including esters, aldehydes, ketones, acids, chlorine compounds, oxides of nitrogen.”
Although Dlubak Glass Co. does not purchase polyvinyl from DuPont, Hostetler said last Friday, the windshield coating material he does buy is similar, and would most likely produce the same type of gases when burned.
Hostetler, working with city Fire Chief Bobby Hume, said he has made plans to purchase a 33-pound Amerex wheeled foam fire extinguisher for $5,800, a piece of equipment used on the tarmac of an airport.
The city would also have access to this new piece of equipment, Hostetler said.
Hostetler said the Division of Water has also asked that he place hay bales near the facility’s tree line and the Department of Waste Management asked Dlubak Glass Co. to write a policy to prevent the fire from happening again.
Hostetler said the cause of the fire is still unknown.
“My best guess would be, the sun hit the piece of glass just right,” he said. “It probably would get hot enough to ignite.”
In order for polyvinyl butyral to even catch fire, the material would need to be heated to at least 750 degrees Fahrenheit, and Hostetler estimated that the May 3 fire must have been at least 1,000 degrees Fahrenheit.
“When it caught on fire, it burns like a tire would,” Hostetler told the council.
Hostetler said he employs 13 employees at Dlubak Glass Co.’s Lawrenceburg location; all staff are natives of Lawrenceburg. There were four employees on site the day of the fire, he said, the rest were at lunch.
“I hire all the ones that nobody else wants to hire,” Hostetler said, adding some employees possess criminal records and that some can’t read. “I hire them because they deserve a second chance.”
The glass has to go somewhere, Hostetler said; if it’s not coming to Lawrenceburg, it’ll go somewhere else.
“Everybody loves recycling until something happens or they have to look at it,” he said.
And the glass pile will get smaller once the economy picks up, he said. Glass on the ground is money on the ground for Hostetler.
 “I do everything I can to move material,” he said.
Hostetler invited the council, as well as the Lawrenceburg community, to come at any time to visit the recycling facility.  
“We try to do the best for the community,” he told the council, “My door is open to any individuals who want to walk in … Anybody who wants to see what we do. We have nothing to hide up there whatsoever.”
“I’m probably going to do that,” councilmember Larry Giles said.

Wet weather detention basin
The council also discussed plans for a $2 million Wet Weather Detention Basin to prevent the city’s wastewater treatment plant from becoming non-compliant during high volume flow on rainy days.
The detention basin could store up to 2 million gallons of storm water runoff from the wastewater plant during peak flow days, taking the pressure off the older sewer lines running through the city.
The project will cost $2 million at 3 percent interest for a 20-year loan. The first payment of $130,000 on the detention basin will be applied to the 2014-2015 fiscal year budget, according to City Clerk Robbie Hume, and may be added as a separate line item or under debt service in the city’s expenses.
Some councilmen expressed concern over the cost of the basin — which would only temporarily store water during extreme wet weather conditions — during last Thursday’s work session.
“That’s a $1 a gallon,” Evans said of the detention basin’s cost versus volume.
According to Public Works Director Larry Hazlett, the basin is a more economical choice than replacing the miles of clay pipes that serve as city sewer lines. The basin will take some of the pressure off the aging sewer lines and allow the city to play catch up in replacing them.
“It’s not going to cost the sewer customers a nickel more on their bills,” Hazlett said. “This money is already allocated every year through sewer rehab.”
Mayor Edwinna Baker said a letter requesting an extension must be filed by June 12 in order to continue forward with the project.
The council was scheduled to discuss the wet weather detention basin during the old business portion of Monday’s council meeting.
The proposed wet weather detention basin would store up to 2 million gallons of diluted wastewater to offset potential excessive flow entering the city wastewater treatment plant during wet weather conditions, according to a previous Anderson News report.
According to Hazlett, the wastewater treatment plant sometimes averages a peak of 10 million gallons per day during wet weather conditions, about 1 million gallons more than the plant’s maximum wastewater capacity.
The basin is needed to keep the treatment plant from reaching maximum capacity during wet weather conditions, Hazlett said, and to prevent the treatment plant from receiving fines from the federal government for not meeting wastewater treatment standards as a result.
Roughly 120 feet in diameter, the wet weather detention basin would be built at the old wastewater treatment plant off US 44, west of the city maintenance garage and in proximity to the Anderson County community park.
Although storing diluted wastewater, the basin would not need equipment for aeration, mixing or odor control due to the facility’s remote location and the water’s rate of dilution, according to engineers with the GRW firm of Lexington.
No action was taken during the work session.