ATTICA, N.Y. - Crews in Attica began tearing apart a mountain of recyclable materials at Hillcrest Industries so they can extinguish fires smoldering in the middle.
The Environmental Protection Agency is overseeing the work being done by Wargo Enterprises of Akron. Officials hope the new efforts will eliminate a foul odor coming from the 40 foot high, acre-wide pile of plastic, glass, and paper.
Last week, Hillcrest tried to put out fires by injecting a special foam into the pile, but they couldn't cool it fast enough.
The new plan involves tearing the pile apart to douse hot spots, one small area at a time.
"We have excavators reaching into the pile, bringing that hot material out, extinguishing it and it will be moved to other parts of the facility and staged in smaller piles. In smaller piles you won't have weight compressing it and causing re-ignition," said Jeff Bechtel, on-scene coordinator for the EPA.
Misting machines are being used to suppress the smoke as the fires are uncovered and to keep dust and other particles from blowing around.
The work should last three to seven days. Right now crews plan to work around the clock.
According to an EPA spokesperson, it will be up to the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation to issue any citations and monitor future operating procedures at Hillcrest.
The recyclable materials will remain on site, however they'll likely be kept in smaller piles.
Any burned material will be set aside and taken away from the site at a later date.
State emergency management officials, the New York State Health Department, and state DEC are among the agencies on hand as work is being done at the site.