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Friday, June 18, 2021

Newport Officials Craft Ordinance to Address Explosion Issues from Scrap Metal Plant

Newport city officials have introduced an ordinance to address noise complaints from frequent explosions at a scrap metal operation on the Licking River.

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by Robin Gee

At their June meeting, Newport commissioners introduced an ordinance to address frequent explosions, noise and other concerns coming from a local scrap metal recycling plant located along the Licking River.

For years, neighbors have complained about loud explosions coming from the River Metals Recycling operation at 1220 Licking Pike in the city’s Clifton neighborhood. 

Residents there said they have been woken up at all hours of the night and disturbed frequently during the day by loud explosions coming from the plant. Sometimes there are fumes and dust coming from the operation as well.

The plant recycles vehicles and other metal items. Some of those vehicles may not have been drained properly, resulting in explosions of leftover gasoline.

The ordinance amends the section of city ordinance dealing with scrap dealers and scrap yards requiring noise monitoring and reporting of explosion events, and places penalties on failure to report explosions as well as on the explosions itself.

The neighbors had also filed a class action suit against the company, which is still making its way through Campbell County Circuit.  

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In the meantime, city officials decided they would act to provide some relief for residents. They crafted the ordinance to try to reduce the number of incidents and to push the company to address the issue.

"We decided to move forward in an effort to reduce the number of incidents occurring at River Metals," said City Manager Thomas Fromme. "Additionally, they have representatives meeting with city staff to develop a mitigation plan to help reduce the impact of such events."

The ordinance will have a second reading and a vote at the next city commission meeting on Monday, July 19.

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