Opp residents, officials: Is smoke dangerous?

Published 12:00 am Thursday, February 6, 2014

Opp residents and city officials are voicing concerns over the ongoing burning of materials at the former cotton mill located on Micolas Street – including just what exactly is being disposed of.

At Monday’s regular council meeting, Councilman Bobby Ray Owens, who represents District 1 where the former mill is located, said he believes asbestos to be included in the materials being burned by new owners B&B Recycling.

District 2 Councilman T.D. Morgan said he, too, has concerns over what is being destroyed, and what effect it could have on the community.

“I was out there Saturday watching it, and after a while my eyes were burning like you wouldn’t believe, and I had to get out of there,” Morgan said.

At Monday’s meeting, resident Denise Clark complained of the “horrible smell” produced by the smoke, and Mayor John Bartholomew agreed the smell has become an issue for residents.

City engineer Wanda Summers said Wednesday the site has been closely supervised by her department, as well as by the Opp Fire Department. Summers said she has contacted the company in order to “double-check” that all guidelines are being met, but said she is confident that no hazardous materials are being burned.

“(B&B) got an OK with the fire department (to burn the materials),” Summers said. “I’ve personally been out there and watched them separate (the materials). We’re there watching them very closely. We are down there two or three times a day. It’s number one on my priority list.”

Summers said B&B Recycling is based out of Oklahoma and obtained a permit to burn materials inside the Opp city limits. Summers added the company is also in the process of sending her office copies of asbestos abatements to verify hazardous materials were separated from those being destroyed in the burnings.