Harriman officials again question Nepera over incidents

| 21 Feb 2012 | 11:00

    HARRIMAN-Deputy Mayor Edward B. Shuart Jr. and other board members grilled Nepera Community Relations representative Iris Sandow about recent events at the Nepera facility on Route 17 earlier this week. Sandow responded to numerous questions pertaining to a rupture disc failure last Thursday night and a diesel fuel leak on Tuesday. It was the latest in a series of discussions, at times heated, between the village and the company over safety issues since the beginning of the year. At Tuesday's bi-monthly board meeting, Concerns were raised about the frequency of events and the manner in which they have been reported. Assistant Fire Chief Tom Lowe stated a root cause analysis should be performed to determine the reason for the increase in problems. Shuart questioned why the police were called to the fuel leak and not 911. When interviewed, Charles Decker, Nepera's director of environmental, health and safety, said the rupture disc failure was a common event that in the past has occurred almost monthly and has released pressure hundreds of times over the life of the plant. He said that improved engineering of the process has greatly reduced the disc failure. The rupture disc is a safety pressure device which is inserted in a pipe line and designed to release pressure that exceeds a pre-engineered level. This rupture disc was installed in a 12-inch pipe line and produces a loud sound upon release. The diesel fuel leak was due to an injector pump leak on a non-Nepera truck making a delivery to the Nepera plant. When approaching the plant truck scale, employee's noticed the leak and directed the truck to leave the Nepera property and park on Route 17, Decker said. The Nepera official added that he called the police and not the fire department because there was no immediate safety or environmental threat and this was a "motor vehicle event" not safety related. He said the state Department of Environmental Conservation inspected the leak by noon time and gave the "all clear." The leak was reportedly less than five gallons. Decker said he always performs formal root cause analysis on events like the rupture disc failure. "The truck leak was not on a Nepera vehicle and we responded effectively to protect the environment," he added. In other business the board approved a new local law creating a Senior Zone Overlay District. The purpose and intent of the new overlay zone is to permit the development of age restricted housing for people 55 years of age and older. The district will be applied upon request as a geographic overlay to one or more existing zones. Requirements of the district are a minimum of two contiguous acres and approval of the Village Board.