Council investigates source of mysterious odor in South Connellsville

Amy Fauth | Herald-Standard

Officials in South Connellsville Borough are trying to work with the owners of Superior Fine Grind LLC, a commercial and industrial equipment supplier on Baldridge Avenue, to stop a strong odor emanating periodically from the plant. Council has learned that the plant passed its last state and federal environmental inspections, but hope the owners will help resolve the odor issues.

Something stinks in one South Connellsville neighborhood.

The source, residents told borough council, is the Superior Fine Grind, LLC plant, a commercial and industrial equipment supplier located on Baldridge Avenue in the borough.

Several residents have complained about the odor, which gets expelled from the plant periodically, at past council meetings.

David Porterfield, who lives some distance away on First Street, brought it up again Monday. It’s unbearable to be outside when they odor is in the air, he said.

“It’s disgusting,” Porterfield said. “No one should have to live with that.”

Councilman George Jay said he’s reached out to both the state Department of Environmental Protection and the federal Environmental Protection Agency.

Both environmental watchdog agencies told Jay that the factory passed its latest inspection and is “up to code,” he said.

But while the company’s compliance could end council’s involvement, borough solicitor Michael Hammond said officials want to help impacted residents. He said officials are actively reaching out to the owners of Superior Fine Grind to see if there’s something further they can do to lessen the smelly emissions.

“I also reached out to the DEP,” said Hammond, who added that he wants to talk to the owners or principals of the business in an attempt to find a mutually acceptable resolution.

Hammond praised council for pursuing the issue, even though it’s not necessarily their problem.

“Council is doing the right thing,” said Hammond. “We are going to do whatever we can.”

The owner of the company did not return a call for comment on the matter.

In an unrelated matter, council did not address the recent resolution of a lawsuit filed by Russell Miller, the borough’s former police chief, against the borough and several council members.

The suit was dismissed earlier this month.

In a two-sentence order, U.S. District Judge Marilyn J. Horan closed the case, noting both sides would bear their own costs associated with the litigation. The court documents did not include any details of the settlement, including whether there was a monetary award made to Miller.

The former chief sued last year, claiming he was wrongfully terminated. A judge dismissed a portion of the suit in which Miller claimed his termination was harmful to his reputation.

Miller contended he was fired because borough police increased DUI-related enforcement patrols near the South Connellsville Fireman’s Club. His attorney claimed the club is supported by some council members.

Miller’s termination came after he was criminally charged with official oppression while serving as chief. That charge was dismissed earlier this year by the state attorney general’s office.

In addition to the borough, the suit named council members Jerry Reagan, Don Ringer, Mary Riley and Jay.

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